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23 January 2004

More staff involvement needed to provide unified care

A key government initiative needs to involve affected staff more and to be given sufficient resources, a survey in the Highlands has found.

UNISON, the public service trade union, has surveyed members involved in the 'Joint Future' project in the Highlands. The results will be presented to a Joint Committee today (Friday 23 Jan).

The project, which intends to bring together healthcare/local authority and voluntary sector agencies to provide unified care services, is being threatened by both lack of consultation and lack of resources.

"There was a high level of awareness about Joint Future, and people felt that one assessment that all agencies shared would provide better quality info." Said Adam Palmer, Secretary of UNISON's Highland Primary Care Branch.

"And nearly three-quarters of all staff who responded know what Joint Future was. But sixty percent had not been involved in discussions or consultations about it. This has to change if we are to deliver successfully what everyone wants."

There is similar concern about involvement in the discussions about integrated teams - a key target of Joint Future - where staff from various agencies work together to deliver care. Here seventy-nine percent of staff have not been involved.

Adam Palmer said "There is still understandable concern that there are fair and equal terms & conditions for staff as services become integrated.

"More resources, particularly in the area of information technology, were also identified as desirable in the survey. UNISON has started to present the information to local health and council chiefs and will be running its own event to discuss the next steps with this information.

"We know from discussions with colleagues outside the Highlands," said Adam, "that the issues of resources and fair and equal conditions are issues across Scotland. It is useful to have this confirmed, and to be able to quantify it if we need to go to other parts of government."


For Further Information Please Contact: Adam Palmer (Branch Secy - UNISON Highland Prim Care Br 01463 704919(w)