Working through the pain

Support, guidance and updates from the CSP’s Employment elations and Union Services team


Working through the pain

As one of the supporters of a campaign to encourage employers to give appropriate consideration to staff with terminal conditions, the CSP is encouraging other employers to add their support

Dying to Work is a voluntary charter, instigated by the TUC, that asks employers to commit to supporting and protecting staff with terminal illness. 

Many workers get seriously ill at some time in their lives. They may need time off, sometimes for months, to get treatment or to get well. 

There are times however when there is no effective treatment. In those cases, the worker and their families face huge emotional stress, fear, and possible financial concerns. The Dying To Work charter can help alleviate some of that stress and sets out an agreed way in which an employee should be treated and supported in the event of a terminal diagnosis.

While some people may be unable or choose not to continue to work, others with a terminal diagnosis prefer to continue working as long as they can. That could be for financial reasons or because they benefit physically or emotionally from the stimulus of working. 

Whatever their choice, each individual employee should be entitled to help and support from their employer. 

The CSP was one of the early supporters of the campaign, and 18 NHS trusts are among the employers who have signed the charter to date. 

We encourage CSP members and workplace reps to raise awareness of Dying to Work with their employers with a view to persuading them to sign up to the charter too. Signatories commit to support, protect and guide staff following a terminal diagnosis. 

What is the TUC Dying to Work campaign?

A campaign pressing for additional employment protection for terminally ill workers who need greater protection... Every person battling terminal conditions deserves the choice of how to spend their final months.

The TUC’s simple step-by-step guide to get your employer to sign the charter:

  1. Check that your employer has not already signed
  2. Involve your union
  3. Encourage your employer to sign the voluntary charter
  4. Inform the TUC
  5. Sign the charter

What do CSP stewards and reps say?

‘I have been passionate about the Dying to Work campaign since hearing about it at a powerful fringe meeting at the CSP’s Annual Representative Conference (ARC). As a strong staffside my colleagues had also heard about the campaign and we made it our mission to get our employer [Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS foundation trust] to sign up. They’ve done so this year. This is such an important milestone for people dying in service. I really feel that my employer’s decision to sign up to this charter shows a shift in the working environment, as people are living longer with terminal illness and the impact this can have for all involved.’ Jill Taylor 

‘I organised the TUC to come and deliver a talk on the Dying to Work campaign at our trade union partnership forum at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board some time ago. At this point, it was unofficially adopted and acknowledged it was the right thing to do. As a result, we as an organisation signed the ‘Dying to Work’ Charter on 24 July. It was a proud moment for me as this had taken sometime for the health board to adopt officially. I felt this was a very important issue to support and believe that it’s only fair we are treating our staff with the same level of dignity and respect we give our patients.’

  • Louise Wright

‘Following the session at ARC several years ago I took the information pack back to our joint negotiating committee and our trust [Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals NHS Trust] became the first in the north west to sign up. Years on I am so glad our trust did sign up as I am aware of some staff who have now been supported to remain in employment where they wouldn’t have.’

  • Kate Baker

‘After attending a TUC conference, I initially raised this with the JSCC of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, it was briefly talked about but it never progressed at the time even though people felt it was a good idea. It has just been re-raised and is progressing forward now. The trust and staffside have both voiced their support and HR are now looking further into what is required with policies etc. We haven’t signed the charter yet but hopefully we will within the next six months.’

  • Mike Pearson

Find out more about the campaign 

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