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Doncaster learning disability nurses to strike again this week

Nurses at a Doncaster learning disability service are to go on strike for a second time over changes to their pay and conditions.

The contract to run the supported living service, which caters for 140 adults with learning disabilities, was awarded to Care UK last autumn.

Since then the provider has asked nursing staff to accept reductions in “enhancement” payments for working unsociable hours and annual leave, and move to statutory maternity provision and sick pay. The changes affect about 25 nurses.

A seven-day strike by 120 Unison members went ahead at the end of February and a second seven-day walk-out is set to start this Wednesday. Latest talks between the two sides ended without resolution on 7 March.

“The company needs to take care of its employees so they can take care of service users”

Rob Green

Rob Green, from Unison’s Doncaster health branch, said nurses were striking because they wanted to continue working at the service and caring for patients they had known for many years.

“People are facing losing about £400 a month and can’t afford to take a cut like that,” he told Nursing Times. “The company needs to take care of its employees so they can take care of service users.”

Care UK service director Chris Hindle said he was “extremely disappointed” to learn of a second strike. He said concessions had been made in the latest talks, including offering to boost a lump sum “transition payment” equivalent to 12 months’ full pay up to 14 months.

“Unison was still demanding no changes whatsoever be made,” he said. “The economic situation means something has to change and we still believe our proposal, which protects jobs, basic pay and pensions, is the fairest way of delivering that.”

Readers' comments (15)

  • Care Uk are not interested in care only profits. They reduced standards at a good care home I worked at to a disgusting level The residents personal care was terrible. The staffing levels are dangerous and it is run by agency staff. The cutbacks even included food and prisoners in HMP are better fed
    I am at another home and wonder why I stayed with Care UK for so long
    I am so sorry for the residents

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  • Care UK made nearly £40,000,000 profit last year

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  • private companies like this shower of s*** are only interested in PROFIT

    how do you think these private companies make their tender affordable..because when they get the contract and the staff tupe over, they wait a few months and then start on the pay and conditions like here in Doncaster

    this is the only way they can make a profit...these companies are like vultures circling the nhs for profit

    i blame this govt for allowing this to happen...who will suffer in the end...of course the patients esp when the nhs will have to come in and pick up the pieces

    if you want this to stop happening in your area..its simple...vote them out at the election next year and lets claim our nhs back from these vultures

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  • tinkerbell

    Doncaster nurses, all power to you for taking a stand.

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  • These services are community based NONE clinical services which are not best delivered by the NHS. This is about supporting people to live independant ordinary lives.
    Unfortunately the culture has been steeped in institutionalised behaviours perpetuated by a staff team that were not previously trained or empowered to work in a person centred manner.
    A private organisation who is paid on results and effectiveness is far better placed to move these services forward and we should applaud their guts to challenge, outdated practices of a service that was previousl run wholly to meet the needs of the staff.

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  • tinkerbell

    Winterbourne View private company.

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  • Care UK have taken over Divizes hospital its Care UK NHS now

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  • re above anon 10:12

    hello david cameron or is it j hunt!!

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  • this is what the tories have in store for our nhs

    The recent speech by the government plant in the Care Quality Commission, David Prior, has called for NHS Trusts who have fallen into financial difficulty to be taken over by European or American ‘Hospital Chains’.

    Such a move would present new opportunities to Circle Health, the first company to takeover the running of a NHS hospital and a company that is embedded into the highest areas of government influence. Not only is a former Circle employee writing the health policy for No10, but another of their former staff is health adviser to Jeremy Hunt. If you add the donations ending up in the local office of the policy unit head, then you could say No10 is now the House of Circle.

    A secret plan to hand over NHS hospitals to foreign companies was initially exposed by the transparency campaigners, Spinwatch in 2011. A Freedom of Information release unearthed communications between management consultancy firm McKinsey and the Department of Health, which revealed how over 20 NHS hospitals should be taken over by foreign firms. This process should be done with a “mindset of one at a time…because of various political constraints associated with privatisation.”

    In David Prior’s speech made at a health seminar in London last week, the former Conservative Chief Executive cited the private hospital company, Circle, who took over the running of Hitchingbrooke hospital back in 2011, as being a model that could be followed for such a process.

    This sentiment was one that was shared by fellow Conservative MP Mark Simmonds who landed his role as strategic adviser to Circle in December 2010. This new position was taken up just five months after he had finished his role as Shadow Health Secretary. The blog ‘NHS Vault’ revealed that within a report written by the Hitchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust Chief Executive's & Franchise Representatives, Simmonds visited the hospital in July 2012 and told those in attendance, “In this hospital you can change the way the NHS works, in my view for the better, you are at the frontier of the way healthcare is going to be provided in the future.”

    The support of Circle within government is also supported by their presence in the heart of government policy. Nick Seddon, is a former Head of Communications for Circle, who moved to the free market think tank Reform as deputy director. Reform are heavily funded by private healthcare, which includes private hospital groups.

    Whilst at Reform, Seddon was highly active lobbying alongside private healthcare to ensure competition remained int he Health and Social care bill. In addition, he called for an increase in private companies taking over NHS hospitals, which was part of a campaign by Reform backed by the Telegraph who helped promote Circle's model. David Cameron, who had said lobbying would be the 'next big scandal' decided to hand a healthcare lobbyist a role in the health policy unit at No10.

    This is not the only influence Circle have in the echelons of government health policy. Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt chose to hire Christina Robinson, another former Head of Communications at Circle as his special adviser.

    The direction of where health policy is going couldn’t be clearer, but it isn’t just there where Circle has representation in government policy.



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  • I read the above "These services are community based NONE clinical services which are not best delivered by the NHS. This is about supporting people to live independant ordinary lives.
    Unfortunately the culture has been steeped in institutionalised behaviours perpetuated by a staff team that were not previously trained or empowered to work in a person centred manner.

    A private organisation who is paid on results and effectiveness is far better placed to move these services forward and we should applaud their guts to challenge, outdated practices of a service that was previousl run wholly to meet the needs of the staff - Absolute nonsense!

    Private companies are run to make a profit. There is no money in it for them if a client / patient improves to lead an independent life. They would then be discharged and the company would lose any further remuneration. So don't fool yourself that a private company is better than the NHS for their clients!

    Moreover, why would you write such a comment when you can see fellow nurses losing out financially - surely that is the main point of the article. Makes me wonder who wrote the comment in the first place?

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  • tinkerbell

    'Makes me wonder who wrote the comment in the first place?'
    Anonymous | 18-Mar-2014 3:35 pm

    a tw&t!

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  • If I need treatment in hospital I want to be treated by NHS staff not Care UK Circle Health or Virgin Health staff.

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  • Slowly more & more LD care facilities are being taken over by private firms because the NHS & Social Services are getting rid.

    Where I live LD nurses are hard-pressed to find a job within the NHS anymore because of this. The branch of nursing is being eroded & by selling off these facilities to private care erodes the moral of LD nurses further - I work for a former NHS facility which is now private & don't get sick pay, 3 weeks less holiday than when under NHS & no enhancements for weekends, nights, bank holidays, etc. If the Tories have their way, all of the NHS will be sold off.

    All power to these nurses - good on you all for standing up & fighting this.

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  • Anonymous | 18-Mar-2014 7:34 pm

    this is the way it is going to be for all NHS staff once it's ALL privatised.

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  • To the Doncaster striking Nurses
    my thoughts and support for you

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