With trusts and health boards facing significant demands, physiotherapy services should not be displaced, as CSP organiser Iain Croker explains
Loss of space is a general term that we use when members are faced with a sudden change to their professional working environment. It can come in many forms, such as closure of the MSK gym or the requisition of physio staff office areas. It is likely to be in response to pressures for acute beds.
Making a case
The point to remember here is that this change of space or usage should not come as a surprise. Under health and safety regulations you should be consulted before any changes are made to your working environment. Furthermore, you can make a case by using your professional standards and the CQC guidance to providers.
The physical space often given in exchange is rarely fit for purpose for members and/or service users and we often find you are not being consulted properly on what you require to provide your service. Employers should first do an Impact Health and Safety risk assessment from both a staff and service user perspective. Consequences for our members when faced with a sudden loss of space or reduction of rehab services can include the stress of not feeling valued, demoralisation, burnout, sickness absence, staff leaving, and MSK injury-related issues.
Under equality law, NHS organisations have a general duty to integrate equality and good relations into their day-to-day business activities. An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process that can assist them with this duty to consider and evidence the potential impact that their activities might have on the community (staff, patients, carers and others) from different equality perspectives.
NHS organisations have been advised that if they intend to change or introduce a service to first undertake an EIA. If you know your service users are going to be adversely affected, discuss with colleagues whether to approach your managers to undertake an EIA.
Alert your CSP steward
Always let your CSP steward (or safety rep) know if you are facing a loss of space or services. If they are on another site, they may not be aware of the issue. If you do not know who your steward is contact us at email@example.com
We have prepared a suite of resources to help you or your steward fight back constructively when faced with this challenge.
All of the rules and regulations that can strengthen your case are there – because strength of feeling alone will not win your argument! Data is key, so consider how can you demonstrate the net loss of physio services that this proposed change will lead to.
Your CSP organisers have worked with senior negotiating officers and your stewards to tackle these issues and devised a step-by-step approach.
Do not sit back and wait to see what happens! Visit us here at 'Organising and campaigning on workplace issues' to download a template letter that can be edited to suit your situation and emailed directly to the CEO. It always gets a response.
A steward in Devon recently used it and had a reply from the CEO within 24 hours, with a promise of no loss of clinical space and reassurance that they had listened and acted upon the direct staff feedback.
Not all issues are resolved so quickly. Find out more here about a case study and how the stewards organised themselves.
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