Letters: 3 September 2014

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Greater Glasgow

It all began with an online application two years ago. Spurred on by the success of the London Olympics, I jumped at the chance to volunteer for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

What better way to get involved with sport, athletes and enthusiastic sports fans. After selection and the excitement of picking up my uniform, I was ready for Glasgow 2014 to begin. I was part of the squash athlete services team, which involved various security roles, ensuring the designated athlete areas were kept up to competition standards and dealing with the over excited fans that wanted autographs – which proved to be a challenge.

The Games played host to some sports not included in the Olympics such as squash, which gave the viewing public an opportunity to consider trying something new and most importantly, keep active. Some of the athletes were not shy to praise others who had helped them achieve their goal and medals, as highlighted in the CSP’s news email on 31 July where the squash gold medallist Nick Matthew praised the impact of his physiotherapy treatment. I don’t think that we can complain about this kind of publicity for our profession.

I learnt a huge amount about the running and organisation of such a large-scale event. I enjoyed the welcome from the Glaswegians and the sporting excitement from the eager spectators. The whole event was a great experience for everyone involved.Tom McKeever is third year student rep, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and Scotland and Northern Ireland regional coordinator.

Not the last resort

I disagree with the article Whistleblowing should be a last resort (page 34, 6 August).

The whole reason that information disclosed by whistleblower clinicians is valid and effective is that it is free from constraints imposed by the managers of the organisation in question, so the basic premise of the article’s proposal, involving a process agreed by all sides, is flawed.

Some management teams, like those described by the whistleblowing doctor in the article, do not respect clinicians, and do not feel their interests are served by a culture of openness. They will take any opportunity to bully staff into agreeing that they have such a culture, and signing up to a system which on the surface is like the one described in the article, but which is in fact dishonest and intended to provide a pretext for punishing dissent. Others, probably the majority, will want to use any proposed charter as a way of keeping control of the process.

It will provide a means of continuing to ensure managers can control what can and cannot be said, just like the current systems, such as incident reporting and internal investigation, which have not proved sufficient. That leaves a third group of management teams whose intentions are genuinely honest. It’s all about trust, really.

I think the proposal, which would involve lengthy discussion, use of valuable human resources, and inevitably failed attempts to think through all possible situations, compares poorly to a simple open statement (or even better, mobile phone video recording) of facts made by someone with personal knowledge of the situation and professional judgement. Rather than this being a last resort, it would be preferable if it was an accepted every day event, no big deal, that problems are aired publicly, and that professional, responsible clinicians have a right to do so. Chris Carr, Plymouth

Claire Sullivan,assistant director of CSP’s employment relations and union service replies:We agree that ‘formal whistleblowing’ has a very important place. However, organisations with truly open cultures have much less need for formal whistleblowing. We do not want organisations to use the fact that ‘people can whistleblow’ as an excuse not to engage staff properly and develop an open and positive culture in the workplace.

Correction and clarification

A comment made at the end of the ‘In safe hands’ article suggested there is a six-year time limit on reporting accidents or long-term effects of injuries to Thompsons. The time limit is three years.

You’ve ADDed...

The advice line column in the last edition of Frontline on changes to employment tribunal rules prompted Joanne Bleasdale to comment: This is really worrying news and I am glad that you have written this post. We all need to be aware of this and the impact that it will have on the future generation if this trend continues along with the coalition government wanting to alter the strike action rules. Worrying times.

Responding to a news item on calls for a preventive response to musculoskeletal conditions, Liz Palmer wrote: In my experience the worst offenders are the general practitioner who tells patients that there is nothing that can be done. Physiotherapy can play a huge part in keeping people mobile, especially with strengthening and conditioning work. This will be done after our expert examination and assessment as to where and what the problem is. Our lifestyle advice is only part of the treatment modality.

Please don’t lose sight of the importance of the individual examination and consultation with a physiotherapist which is our great skill.

The 3 minutes with Charmaine Riley-Nelson article (page 66, 6 August) prompted several comments from members. TTM said: Thanks for the post. This keeps the dying embers of my ambition to get to top management positions alive. The Snowy white peaks of the NHS title says it all. You are right about institutional racism in the NHS. I agree with your views about interview panels. In my trust I have also found that ignorance of visa rules (which can appear quite complicated to shortlisters) can also explain some of the lack of shortlisting of BME candidates. So some work by human resource departments to make sure that all the recruitment procedures are clear will help.

But equally as you point out I have heard colleagues after shortlisting stating that they could not shortlist anyone as there were only applicants from India who have come here to do their MSc and they do not know the system.

Various and Frontline Staff

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