World mental health day and our #PBTH campaign

Today is world mental health day:

UNISON has been campaigning to put staff back at the heart of our service, since launching our #PBTH campaign in 2015. Our campaign aims to make the Trust a more supportive employer – helping to support mental health awareness and culture change.

We have campaigned and achieved a number of measures to better support staff, these include:

  • a separate disability policy (which goes beyond statutory);
  • pay protection for staff who need redeployment on disability grounds to support staff who under NHS national T&Cs would not be eligible;
  • pay progressive for Paramedics and EMTs, into band 6 and band 5 respectively;
  • the refund of student fees;
  • correct application of Annex U;
  • supportive policy changes;
  • a pilot to ensure staff get a longer meal break and a pilot to reduce late finishes.

Last week we had a long standing grievance upheld which put in place a more supportive policy around lone working, ensuring staff who normally work on an Ambulance are not forced to lone respond:

As well as changing culture through our campaigning and policy changes, UNISON Officers have recently undertaken specialist training in tackling bullying and harassment – which was an identified need from some of the casework we have seen. Further training is taking place for UNISON representatives and Officers early in November. We will be discussing training needs and our campaign around tackling bullying and harassment at our October Branch meeting with a view to taking this area of work forwards.

The Trust signed Mind’s ‘blue light pledge’ at the public board meeting in May 2016, and promised to make a number of changes, including reviewing all policies and procedures: To ensure that the campaign is integrated into all and any appropriate policies and procedures. The public board papers gave dates for planning this as May 2016, and delivery as May – August 2016.

Moving forwards we would prefer the Trust to support change without the need to resort to grievances, or in the case of late finishes, through a formal dispute. 

Our aim is to work in partnership where possible to better support staff – and where needed, campaign for changes using an evidence based approach.

If you would like to find out more – please visit our website and blog, or read our monthly newsletters which are delivered to every workplace.

Kind regards,


Fraer Stevenson

UNISON Branch Secretary

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