Just after Xmas large scale down bandings were announced by the management of the Oxford Centre for Enablement. Twenty-eight highly qualified and experienced band 7 and 8 allied health professionals were to be reduced in numbers by 75% down to two 8s from three and down to five band 7s.After the initial shock and anger, members of all the Unions met en masse and gathered together a huge body of evidence that demonstrates the detrimental effect this would have on the services.
OCE provides specialist neurological rehabilitation (e.g. stroke and brain injury) services for Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties. It also provides a national service for posture management of wheelchair users with complex needs and for wheelchair engineering and specialist prosthetic and orthotic services.
All these highly qualified staff have had their jobs matched under agenda for change, however the goalposts have now been moved and management say the same services can be provided by lower banded staff.
Members and the unions have attempted during the consultation period to persuade management to drop the plans. The managers have made a few minor changes. These changes are not acceptable and therefore a collective grievance has been lodged by Unison and the other unions involved.
Members of UNISON and other Unions are completely united in their determination to fight these down bandings. This collective grievance has been signed by 48 people, that is the people directly involved plus Band 6s who will no longer have career progression and a reduction in clinical supervision.
Apart from the fact that members will be losing up to 6000 pounds per year, the Francis report warns against trusts attempting to cut costs in this way in an attempt to gain Foundation Trust status. Ultimately it is the patients we serve who will suffer.