Chief executive's notes: HCSA at TUC, exit penalties, recognition, Westminster visit

HCSA at the TUC
In September HCSA was represented at the annual Trade Union Congress conference as the only TUC-affiliated union that represents solely hospital doctors.

The TUC speaks up for all working people and is at the heart of the mainstream trade union and professional association network.

Being an affiliate gives our members that collegiate strength and support that is so important and unique.

Read more about our TUC participation

Exit penalties
The government has recently released its response to the consultation on public-sector exit payments.

The outcome was no surprise and will reduce and restrict exit payments for the majority of NHS staff and all of our members if and when the situation arises.

Putting to one side the reductions in payments, the key issue here is that all of these agreements, such as redundancy and retirement, were negotiated with the trade unions, and this response will now override those hard-fought negotiations.

Morale among hospital doctors is already at its lowest ebb. This latest measure will only exacerbate the situation.

Recognition where it's due
We recently issued an email to all members giving an update on the discussions we have been having with the government, NHS Employers and the BMA on our journey towards full and formal trade union recognition.

We have felt for many years that the HCSA should be recognised and as such have been pressing our case for a considerable time. These efforts have made steady progress and our pending recognition was confirmed in writing earlier in the year by NHS Employers.

Our final task is to work out the formalities and arrangements for this process to take shape, which will see us fully participate in negotiations on all relevant medical contracts.

Parliamentary links
A high-level HCSA delegation including President Ross Welch, Chair Claudia Paoloni, past president John Schofield and myself met recently with Commons Health Select Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston.

We raised a number of issues with her including NHS funding, safe seven-day services, HCSA recognition and matters relating to various contract negotiations. We were delighted to meet with Dr Wollaston and give a voice to our members to the chair of such an important and influential body.