Donna Steele on making the most of action and awareness days
1 March was Work your Proper Hours Day, a great opportunity for our members to work their proper hours and to complete patient notes in work time. The awareness day is about asking you to reflect on how working excessive hours is personally affecting you and what you want to do about it. Over-working all the time is not good for your health as it often leads to stress and burn-out.
Our recent campaign to take action on overwork, Pinpoint the Pressure, showed us a potential way through this problem, using a three-stage approach. Reps first spoke to members to identify some of the causes of overwork, then discussed with them what might be behind these causes and determined a plan to address them. Stage three involved putting that plan into action.
This approach proved useful when members organised to raise issues with their employer. Working collectively empowered them to examine their working lives, to understand what they could do to improve their situation and to make those changes.
There is also a strong professional dimension to this issue, regarding duty of care. Professional adviser Gwyn Owen detailed this in a previous issue of Frontline, concluding that the CSP’s professional standards is a source to challenge where overwork is compromising duty of care to service users. She points out that the Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) describe the things required to ensure an organisation or business can deliver safe and effective physiotherapy services.
Later this year we plan to run regional training events for stewards and safety reps to further explore how we use the QAS to improve members’ working conditions. These standards sets out your legal, ethical and regulatory requirements, but are relevant for establishing your right for quality of employment too.
- Donna Steele is the CSP’s national health and safety officer
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