TUC Women’s conference: CSP members speak out on gender inequalities

Physiotherapy staff concerned at unfair treatment for women workers in the NHS have called on the TUC to develop strategies to address some of the inequalities and ingrained workplace problems.

The CSP delegation at the TUC Women's conference: L-R Claire Kell, Kate Moran, Becky Portwood, Mia Phillips Photo: Janina Struck

Speaking at the annual women’s conference this week, CSP steward and Northumberland and Tyne and Wear physiotherapist Claire Kell shared some worrying details of abuse experienced by NHS colleagues, and described the impact on their work, health and relationships. She told conference delegates: ‘Women, who make up nearly 80 per cent of NHS staff, are experiencing unacceptable and distressing behaviour on a daily basis while trying to provide the best possible care for patients.

‘We need organisations to take action. Senior staff need to set an example as role models to make sure that staff understand what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.’

Her motion lobbying for greater support from the TUC in creating clear and robust policies to tackle bullying and harassment was unanimously carried.

At the same three-day conference, Mia Phillips, a physio at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and CSP steward, moved a motion on gender inequality in the NHS. She called on conference delegates to promote good examples of women in leadership roles, shame those institutions that continue to demonstrate inequality, and encourage more organisations to practice true equality for women and men employees.

Ms Phillips said: ‘Across the NHS, women currently hold only 37 per cent of senior jobs. Women have been and continue to be the mainstay of so many healthcare professions, my own physiotherapy profession included, and it is time that women were playing an equal role in running the NHS.’

Delegates supported the argument, carrying the motion unanimously.

CSP steward Becky Portwood, a MSK physiotherapist at the Royal Free London NHS Trust, presented the CSP’s amendment to the USDAW motion on women’s poverty. She highlighted the need for affordable childcare: ‘I ask the TUC women’s committee to include in their campaign an emphasis on making flexible and affordable childcare more widely available, especially for those workers who have to work outside usual childcare provision times, like evenings and weekends.’

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