Blog 7: Growing inequality between rich and poor (30/06/17)

Blog seven is here, dancing upon your computer screens, and peeping its irrelevant head up like a Meerkat dressed in a Sgt Pepper suit.

You lucky readers don’t know how lucky you are. This blog was nearly scrapped. It was to be thrown on scrap heap along with coal pits, shell suits, and the Tories failed manifesto.

Blog six (now being described as the “lost masterpiece” by some critics) was censored. I now sit alongside The Sex Pistols, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and Chuck Berry (My Ding-a-Ling) in the pantheon of dashing rebels silenced by the establishment…..

Anyone who has been watching Glastonbury will have witnessed the changing mood of the country’s yoof. The chant “Ohhh Jeremy Corbyn” has been the festival ear worm. Corbyn positively pranced around the Pyramid stage (how I wish he’d marinated himself in glitter, and feather boa’s like Marc Bolan’s long lost dad).

He received a huge cheer when he criticised growing inequality between rich and poor, highlighted by the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington, London.
He said: “Is it right that so many people in our country have no home to live in and only a street to sleep on?”
“Is it right so many people are frightened of where they live at the moment having seen the horrors of Grenfell Tower?”
“Is it right that so many people live in such poverty in a society which has such riches? No it obviously isn’t.”

As Trade Unionists you are part of this movement. It is not new (type into Google The Chartists) but it is certainly re-energised. If you feel you want to be more involved locally then please get in touch with the branch (#64369). We have a very active young members group if you are one of the lucky ones to be in your early twenties, but if you are any age and have been inspired recently by the election or enraged by the public service cuts then we are a friendly team, with a boiling kettle, sometimes biscuits, and we welcome all.

Locally our Time To Care campaign is still active – We are working with Theatre management to introduce a protocol which recognises that staff deal with traumatic clinical incidents differently, and looks at ways to introduce hot and cold de-briefs which improve patient safety (lessons learnt), but also will support staff and give them the time to deal with their own reaction to the events with peer support. It is a great initiative which should make staff feel less vulnerable.

I have been involved in my first “Freedom To Speak Up” case. This is the process of “whistleblowing” where a member of staff reports a concern regarding a wrongdoing, risk, or malpractice. My role was to act as an initial link between the member of staff and the Freedom to Speak out Guardian appointed by the trust. I was very impressed by the process, and I know the member of staff also feels confident that his/her concerns have been listened to and acted upon. Discussing the process the Guardian was hopeful that the culture of raising a concern would become common place and questioning authority (in a positive way) would be adopted. This is obviously a really positive step for patients, and staff and one that UNISON endorse. If you have any questions about whistleblowing please contact branch (#64369) or read the policy found on the trust intranet page under Human Resources and “Freedom to Speak Up”

…..speak soon xxx

(The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the UNISON Leeds Teaching Hospitals Branch)