I informed you in October that discussions were underway with NHS Employers in England and the Government with regard to the formal trade union recognition of the HCSA. Final discussions were held just before the Christmas break and I am now delighted to announce to all our members that as from now the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association is formally recognised by NHS Employers for the purposes of national collective bargaining in England.
This means that the HCSA will participate in national negotiations through the various specific joint negotiating mechanisms for all relevant medical contracts and for collective bargaining through the NHS Staff Council arrangements for pay and terms and conditions common to all staff groups.
This is a milestone for the HCSA and places us at the national negotiating table in our own right, something that has eluded us for over 65 years. We have much experience of negotiation at a senior level in the NHS and I believe we will be able to make an enormous contribution to negotiations as we go forward.
The HCSA is a strong and effective professional association and trade union devoted to representing members locally and now nationally. We are there to support you when you need us. We are also a campaigning organisation focusing on day-to-day workplace issues that matter to members, including staff shortages, the squeeze on SPA time, stress in the workplace and equality, as well as national issues such as underfunding, continual restructuring, contract reform and the future of the NHS. Our new status will enable us to give a stronger voice to your views and opinions where it counts - at the negotiating table.
This is a major sea change in the interactions between the HCSA, employers, Government and our fellow NHS trade unions, one that is positive and refreshing and one that I am sure will create a clear emphasis on protecting and promoting the role of hospital doctors at work across the UK. It will also be widely welcomed by the NHS as a whole.
Whilst this recognition is only for England, we have been in similar discussions with the devolved administrations and have received extremely positive feedback in respect of trade union recognition, which we hope will be replicated in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
I will also be writing to the Chief Executives of all NHS Trusts in England to inform them of our national recognition status and request that the HCSA be afforded equal status at local Trust level.
It is worth noting that our recognition status means that for the first time in decades there is now an alternative independent TUC-affiliated trade union solely representing hospital doctors at the negotiating table.
Finally, I want to thank all members for your continued support over the years. There will never be a better time to join the HCSA and I urge you all to let your colleagues know that the newly recognised HCSA is open for business and is determined to grow stronger, become more influential, be a continual presence around the negotiating table and to continue to improve our services.
Happy New Year to all HCSA members.
Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association