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The NHS depends on nurses speaking freely

As a Unison branch secretary, Karen Reissmann is entitled to publicly discuss the union’s view on proposed service changes.

With regards to her sacking by Manchester Health and Social Care Trust, the trust’s position is not sustainable and will be overturned when this case comes before a tribunal.

The problems to which Ms Reissmann was referring are already recognised by the trust. In addition, nurses are obliged to draw attention to the failings of their colleagues – including management failings.

To achieve the government’s aim of ‘more power locally in the hands of patients and staff’, employees must feel able to debate the merits of proposals without threat of dismissal.

Martin Rathfelder
Socialist Health Association


Scotland will launch a practice nurse toolkit

With regards to your article on practice nurses in Scotland, we are in fact developing a toolkit for practice nurses, with their input and collaboration (NT News, 30 October, p4).

This will primarily draw together existing useful resources so they can be accessed from one place.

The initial version of this is due to be launched by April 2008.

There was a practice nurse survey earlier in the year but its focus was to gather national information on general practice nursing in Scotland to inform plans for the NHS Education for Scotland Learning and Networking for General Practice Nurses Initiative.

Christine Patch
NHS Education for Scotland


Cosmetic nursing is not being ignored

With reference to Emma Vere-Jones’ informative article on cosmetic nursing, I would like to clarify that although individuals must register their own practices with the Healthcare Commission, standards for registered nurses are, and will remain, the responsibility of the NMC, in cosmetic nursing (NT Feature, 13 November, p20).

In response to Ms Brennan’s comments, I do not believe the government has implied ‘it’s only cosmetic, it’s not important’.

In a letter to me, former health minister Lord Hunt said: ‘While I have every confidence that self-regulation is the best way forward for non-surgical cosmetic treatment at this moment in time, we do not rule out the introduction of statutory regulation should it become necessary in future.’

Sally Taber
Independent Healthcare
Advisory Services


Kingston is assessing independent providers

Your article ‘Hospital to privatise its services’ contained a number of inaccuracies.

Kingston Hospital is currently evaluating the potential of working with an independent sector provider to manage elective services at the hospital site. No formal decision has been made. Evaluation will continue for several months and a decision is expected in spring.

The trust is evaluating three companies that have shown an interest in an initial tender process. We are not in ‘advanced talks with an unnamed private company’, as stated, nor have we whittled the companies down to one.

The article also states that 60 nurses will transfer to the private company. We have not released any such statistics.

This information obviously came from another source and was not checked with us.

If the trust decides to go ahead with this proposal then staff will not ‘transfer over to the private company’. If, and when, we reach that stage we will discuss various options with staff, one of which is for them to retain their NHS terms and conditions under a retention
of employment agreement.

Helen Dirilen
Director of Nursing and Quality
Kingston Hospital NHS Trust


Editor’s note: Unison provided NT with the figure of 60 nurses, based on the size of the unit. The trust was unable to confirm the number of nurses that would be transferred.

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