Unison was very pleased to see the recent joint issue on partnership working between health and local government (Patient: Citizen, 22 June).
It highlighted many of the issues raised, but unfortunately did not include any detailed discussion of the impact on staff of these developments. Unison supports the objectives of Section 31 partnership initiatives, but these will only work if there is also partnership with staff organisations and the interests of staff are protected.
We were closely involved in the development of Department of Health guidance on workforce issues.
This provides a framework of good employment practices within which local projects should operate. Unison has also produced negotiating guidance for staff affected by Section 31.
We support greater partnership working between health and social care services. We do not support suggestions of imposed wholesale transfer of responsibilities in either direction and believe talk of takeover is unhelpful. Staff would not welcome further structural shakeups, and they would divert us from the real issues of service provision and accountability.
Health and social care staff want to make partnerships work because we know they are in the interests of service users. We hope employers will work with us to help make it happen as a genuine partnership.
Steven Weeks National officer Health group Unison