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23 January 2003

UNISON issues 3 point action plan in light of hospital acquired infection report

Scotland's largest healthcare union, UNISON has today issued a three point action plan in response to the ongoing problems associated with Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) highlighted in a Scottish Executive report issued today.

"When I worked in the National Health Service, a domestic was allocated to my ward and worked from 7.30am to 2pm. At 4pm another domestic would come on duty and work until 8pm. These individuals were totally accountable to me, as they were employed by the National Health Service", said Jim Devine, Scottish Organiser for Health, UNISON.

"Today the same domestics will cover 2, 4 or 6 wards because, since 1985 when Compulsory Competitive Tendering was introduced to the National Health Service by the Tories, the number of domestics employed by the National Health Service fell from 25,270 to 10,200.

"Over a 15 year period 15,000 less NHS employed domestics work in the Scottish Health Service. During the same period, Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) has increased substantially. It is also worth pointing out that, as a result of privatisation and PPP hospitals, no Ward Sister or Charge Nurse in Scotland can manage a domestic in the way that I could because domestics are not employed by the National Health Service but employed by private contractors.

"Therefore we are calling on the Scottish Executive to firstly, establish agreed minimum staffing levels for domestics for every ward and department in the Scottish Health Service. Secondly, the day to day management of domestics should be returned to Ward Sisters and Charge Nurses and lastly, all private contractors should be removed from the National Health Service."


For Further Information Please Contact: Jim Devine on: 0870-7777-006 (w) 07876-441-239(m)