Health Union update - 1 October 2021

Posted on September 30, 2021

Health Needs Urgent Care - Cairns Rally

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Well done to the Cairns Hospital members who stood up for better healthcare! Together members were joined by their frontline health worker colleagues from the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union, United Workers Union and Electrical Trades Union.

Unions are urging the Federal and State Governments to:

  • Invest in the health system by committing to working with health workers on a joint, immediate solution
  • Work with health workers to identify long term solutions for a sustainable health system and economy
  • Commit to smarter funding that is in the best interests of patient care and staff safety
  • Commit to keeping our health system in public hands, not privatising services or beds.

Cairns health staff have the solutions to help fix the problems facing Cairns Hospital and Health Service. As health workers you are the experts because you know our health system and the needs of your patients.

We need our decision-makers and politicians to urgently listen to you and work with us to make our health system sustainable.

 

Are you a current or former employee of WBHHS?

The Fraser Coast Together Union office has become aware that there may be back pay owing to staff who have been or currently are appointed to both the Maryborough and Hervey Bay hospitals as their work location.  Under the various industrial instruments for Queensland Health we believe that in some instances members may be entitled to back pay and compensation for travel time (minus your commute from your residence to your primary workplace). This compensation applies also to travel time and mileage for work in other sites also if you have not been compensated.

Together understands that some staff may have “claimed” this travel through their tax. You will need to seek tax advice independently to see how a subsequent compensation will impact upon your tax situation.

If you have already completed this survey through your delegate or local news lines please do not fill it in again unless you have new information.

Please fill in this survey here.

 

Relocation won on compassionate grounds in Townsville

One of our THHS members recently requested a secondment to another location to be closer to a very unwell family member and management denied this request. Our member contacted Together for support and we were able to address the reasons given for denying this request with HR and management’s decision was overturned. Our member is starting in her new position shortly. This is a fantastic outcome for our member and her family!

 

Together Members in QAS win an upgrade from AO2 to AO3!

Together delegates have been taking part in a review to look at all of the AO2 positions in the Queensland Ambulance Service throughout 2021. Over the last few months Together representatives and QAS management have worked through all AO2 positions within the service, and almost all positions have been recommended to be upgraded to AO3. Congratulations to the AO2 workers in QAS who have been working beyond their level for a long time, and who will now receive the recognition they deserve. Together will continue to work with QAS to implement these changes. If you have any questions or concerns about your own position, please contact alex.griffin@together.org.au.

 

Fatigue Risk Management

Your delegates who attend the WHS Advisory Committee and the state-wide consultative forum, management advised of work being undertaken to better integrate fatigue risk management into the Queensland Health, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Management System (HSWMS).

A key initiative has been to review the current Fatigue Risk Management System Resource Pack so that it:

  • is embedded in the HSWMS as a guideline thus supporting compliance with the overarching risk management, consultation and other related standards and workplace health and safety generally.
  • it provides improved guidance for practical implementation at the work unit level within HHSs and Agencies.

The Fatigue Risk Management System Resource Pack was developed for Queensland Health in partnership with the University of South Australia's Centre for Sleep Research, presenting innovative and current state approaches to fatigue risk management.  It was extensively consulted during development and forms the basis for consistent practice across the state currently. 

If you have any feedback or comments, can you please provide them to health@together.org.au by 2 October 2021.

 

Workloads

Your fellow union members are standing together for better staffing and workloads across the state. In Bundaberg Base Hospital, a rally was held to demand that management deal with workload concerns. We will keep you up to date on how these workloads are dealt with. 

Excessive workload can include not backfilling, excessive leave in your area, continual overtime, functions, and tasks not being completed in the shift, stress, health issues etc.   

If you have a workload issue the Workforce Workload Management kit is a PDF that you can now filled in electronically. A Matrix has also been developed to assist you to fill out this form

 

Temp to Perm Conversion

You and your colleagues are always pushing for secure employment, which is the cornerstone to delivering stable and high-quality public health services to Queensland. Despite this, many members have identified that the Temporary to Permanent Directive is not always being applied correctly in Queensland Health.

Queensland Children’s Hospital delegates have been running 'Lunch and Learn' sessions on Temporary to Permanent Conversions to hold management accountable to your rights to job security. In these sessions Queensland Children’s Hospital delegates walked and talked other members through some of the bad decisions that have been happening in QCH, and how to appeal these decisions.

If you are a temporary or casual employee you should seek further advice on how to progress an application to start the process, just contact yourunion@together.org.au or call 1800 177 244.  

 

Department of Health consultative forum Delegate Report back

Recently Together delegates attended a Consultative Forum with management about a range of workplace issues.

Here is a report from that meeting.

Thanks to all our delegates for continuing to raise these matters and to represent the concerns of members at DoH. If you have any concerns or questions you can contact your local delegate or email health@together.org.au

 

Multi Discipline Positions

Queensland Health has paid some HPs who had their role advertised as a multi-discipline role. There are large numbers of members, who still have not been paid. We are currently negotiating the implementation of this clause so that all other members are able to be paid. However, Queensland Health is seeking to limit the application of this provision to roles that were advertised as being able to be a nurse or an HP. Together is working with the Nurses' union on a policy that fairly implements the agreed clause. Once we have a central process and documentation in place, then we will be able to progress individual members and groups of members through that process. If the limitations are not removed, this matter may need to be escalated for resolution.   

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce

At the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Phase two sub group which met on Tuesday 31 August, it was agreed that this sub group would meet on a fortnightly basis to ensure that a new career pathway can be finalised as soon as possible. Delegates discussed the Phase Two roadmap and scoping documents. Let your delegates know if you have any feedback on these documents.  

Your delegates will be meeting regularly, and delegates will be attending regular fortnightly discussions with management to finalise your career pathway.

As a union member you have an opportunity to influence what your new career pathway should look like, but to do this, you need to be active in all aspects of these proposed changes moving forward. It is important that you are active in talking about the improvements needed to your career path to make your working life better.

Queensland Health is proposing to utilise an external consultant from one of these companies HR specialists Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, KPMG, Mapien, O'Connor Marsden & Associates Pty Limited, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Prominence Pty Ltd. Your deadly delegates have argued strongly that this work should not be outsourced to one of these companies. They have argued that this work should be done by someone in the department who has had personal experience with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Liaison officers. It is also not clear exactly what work the contractor would be doing, how this work would be done and how staff would be involved. Delegates are also concerned about the independence of these groups and do not believe that this is in the best interest of members.   

Delegates would like to know your thoughts via health@together.org.au 

You can read the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Work Career Structure Review Final report (July 2019). Delegates would like you to provide any feedback you have on this document. 

If you have concerns or feedback, talk to your local delegate or you can contact your steering committee delegates: Josslyn Tully, Julie-Ann Cox, John Kennell, Phillip Alley, Michael Illin, Sharne Iselin, Kayleen Wallace, Tamara Olive, Sterling Wedel, Jillianne Weyman, Rhonda West, Shannon Ah Sam, Morgan Dempsey, Patricia Kennedy, Des Cowburn and Regina Mullins.

 

Clinical Assistants Update

The Clinical Assistants Vocational Education and Training Incentive G22 policy has been published with a bulk upload process for back-dating employees eligible for VETIA underway.

An excel spreadsheet was provided to HHSs/Divisions at the beginning of September to commence the bulk approval process for Clinical Assistants eligible for VETIA. As part of this HR was asking HHSs to identify the Clinical Assistants who had a relevant vocational education and training qualification that had not been previously recorded. The deadline for completing the spreadsheet was this week on 27 September.

If Clinical Assistants have not previously recorded their qualifications, they should ensure they provide relevant details as required, including Qualification Level, Qualification From Date, Institution, Qualification Field, Qualification Details and a certified copy of their relevant qualification to the relevant designated contact for clinical assistant implementation.

The training fund and CA3 advancement policies were endorsed at HPDOCG on 14 September and HR are progressing to approval and publishing.

In relation to the Clinical Assistant Role Manual, HR have provided a draft CA role manual for review. They have requested unions to provide a response by Friday 22 October.

The manual has been developed to provide clear boundaries to Hospital and Health Services and Divisions for the creation and classification of positions within the Clinical Assistant Stream. In addition, it assists employees and the employing health service facility to maximise the benefits of the Clinical Assistant Stream environment. The manual does not seek to replace provisions contained in the Hospital and Health Service General Employees (Queensland Health) Award – State 2015 but must be read in conjunction with that Award.

Union members will determine the position put forward on behalf of workers about these changes.

A briefing with Clinical Assistant Delegates will be provided on the proposed role manual and the agreement needed by union members to implement the proposed manual on 11 October. The briefing will decide the best pathway forward.

Your voice will be heard as you know how you perform your role and the duties and responsibilities you have.

 

Regional and Remote HPs get involved

Together members have fought for and won clauses in your HPDO agreement that mean union members are central to the planning and decisions that affect your workplace. Because of that work, union members are securing better outcomes in health services across the state.

Right now, Queensland Health is undergoing a review of a workforce planning and analysis framework. This work is about establishing processes in your health services that guide the workforce profiles involving HPs.

You can read more about this review here.

Already within your HPDO agreement, there is a clause to relating to workforce planning and analysis framework.

83. Workforce Planning and Analysis Framework for Health Practitioners

83.1. The parties will develop a workforce planning and analysis framework for health practitioners in the first 12 months of the Agreement that will:

(a) acknowledge that time for clinical care, professional practice accountabilities including but not limited to professional supervision, teaching, training and quality improvement and research is a requirement when allocating health practitioner resources for services;

(b) include in the calculation of annual operating budgets and allocation of health practitioner resources for services:

(i) consideration of the service profile and skill mix of health practitioner hours required to provide safe patient care;

(ii) calculate health practitioner hours based on time allocated to professional practice accountability and direct clinical time for clinical role

(iii) include in the calculation of health practitioner hours Award entitlements; and

(iv) provide that health practitioners HP5 and above in clinical positions will have at least 20% of rostered hours allocated away from direct clinical duties to support them to work to their full scope of practice including participation in research and education activities.

Using this as a starting point, we have already had delegate meeting to form a steering committee as part of the work to establish a workforce planning and analysis framework. This work has been ongoing in Queensland Health for a number of years and input from union members is an important part of that process. 

However we do not have anyone on the steering group from outside the South East Corner. If you are interested in joining this steering committee or have any further questions, please get in contact with your union office health@together.org.au.

 

Integrated Workforce Management  

A decision has been made on Phase three of the Integrated Workforce Management Program (IWFM) which aims to implement an improved roster to pay solution.

You can view the decision documents here.

You can view the special broadcast from Barbara Phillips here.

The IWFM Project Tranche 0 Business Case for Change will now be prepared and released for consultation with the relevant work areas namely Corporate Enterprise Solutions, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (HHS), Gold Coast HHS and part of Metro South HHS.

As a union member you have an opportunity to influence these outcomes.

If you have concerns or questions or want to provide feedback or suggestions for Phase three, please email these to Heather at heather.hayes@together.org.au.

Management have agreed and have been meeting fortnightly with your delegates from across the state to discuss any issues or concerns. If you would like to be part of these meetings simply let Heather know at heather.hayes@together.org.au.

 

Christmas

It’s that time of year when the weather starts getting hotter, Christmas carols get stuck in our heads and leave plans for the holiday season start.

Queensland Health has released the Christmas Closure policy for this year; you can view a copy of the policy here and the Qld Health policy here.

The compulsory closure period will be from Monday 27 December to Monday 3 January inclusive. In some workplaces, teams may decide to operate with reduced activity before and after the compulsory closure period. Such a move may be welcomed by staff in those teams provided it takes into account team members leave and family plans.

If your area is proposing a closure longer than the compulsory Christmas closure period stated in Queensland Health’s policy and you do not have sufficient leave accrued, or you do not wish to access leave, alternative meaningful work needs to be offered to you for this extension beyond the compulsory Christmas closure period.

If you require more information, re-read the policy, talk to your delegate, organiser or call 1800 177 244.

Share this email with your colleagues and let them know the importance of being involved and joining their union if they are not yet a member. We all need to ensure that we have a strong union in payroll to make sure that management continue to listen to us. They can join here.

 

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au