Doctors needed to join local recognition push

Dr Umesh Udeshi explains what fellow HCSA members can do to make their voice heard

A Midlands Consultant who helped HCSA secure local bargaining rights at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has urged fellow members to do the same to ensure their voice is heard in direct negotiations with employers.

HCSA has been a growing force in the Trust, which encompasses hospitals in Worcester, Redditch and Kidderminster. 

Much of the growth locally has been down to the tireless work of HCSA ex-president Dr Umesh Udeshi, a former medical director and currently chair of the Trust Local Negotiating Committee (LNC).

The agreement in the Midlands is the latest dividend from the Association’s ongoing campaign to secure negotiating rights for members locally.

Dr Udeshi, a Consultant Radiologist, said: “We have good numbers of doctors in our Trust who are HCSA members and they now have direct representation in negotiations with the Trust.

“Increasing numbers of doctors contact me to talk about issues they may have with terms and conditions or other aspects of their work/employment. Sometimes, they are not members of a trade union, feeling that they do not need to be members as they are not involved in ‘politics’ etc.

“This makes it very difficult to get professional help to them and I would urge all doctors to become members of a trade union. After all, it is too late to try and get car insurance after you have been involved in a road traffic collision!”

Over the summer HCSA took its place for the first time at the Trust’s Medical Management Committee. HCSA National Officer Rob Quick was present.

“We are now better placed to speak up on behalf of local doctors in the Trust,” said Quick. “On recent visits, I have been involved in advising members on job planning and contract issues, and the implications for service redesign.

“We were very happy to support the LNC’s call for reinstatement of the Associate Specialist grade, and we agreed a joint statement on SAS doctors’ autonomy.”

Dr Udeshi emphasised that HCSA members have a key role to play in securing similar bargaining rights at their own Trusts.

“They can help to get recognition locally by contacting their HCSA local representative and finding out whether local recognition has been requested or granted.

“If there is no local rep, members can volunteer and receive training and help from the HCSA.

“Also, members can help by volunteering for membership of their LNC, and the HCSA can also provide training for this.”