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Advice sought on new Carer's rights - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

Advice sought on new Carer's rights

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi everyone

Thought I would update you all. I'll try and keep it brief--ish!!

The whole issue got out of hand as far as we can now see. The hospital would not budge and eventually my wife went sick with the stress of it all. An RCN investigation showed that there was no actual policy in place nor was the "policy" being fairly and justly applied throughout the Trust.

My wife's official reply to the informal meeting was that she could not do what was being asked of her. The RCN and my wife were promised a statement from the Chief Nurse that would indicate that the policy was what the wards were working towards but it never came until my wife sent 2 e-mails and a recorded delivery letter to the Chief Nurse. The outcome being that she gave a personal opinion as to the issue of rotation off of night duty to day shifts. Very swiftly the Human Resources department made this the official response and therefore required my wife to rotate on to day shifts.

She then submitted a statutory grievance and alleged discrimination as previously discussed above. There is also harassment, bullying and victimisation going on too! The grievance is all encompassing and includes several layers of managers and HR people. All because they cannot see what they are doing is wrong and cannot apologise.

Solicitors are not quite on board as yet but that may not be far off.

Obviously there is more to the events but that is the bones of it.

Comments please.
Hi papasmurph, this is an off the cuff reply, clearly there are many issues and complex legislation to be considered. But if the matter is in the hands of the RCN. I think you can be assured that they are competant to deal with these matters. It's just a matter of waiting for the greivance procedure to be completed.
Sorry your wife has gone sick with the stress of it all. Nursing, like the armed forces, tends to close ranks when someone challenges the establishment.
best wishes normangardner
Hi Papasmurf,

Passed your post to our Advice and Information team. They are interested in your case and its wider implications for carers in similar situations. They urge you to make sure you have legal advice as there is 3 month time limit if you want to lodge a complaint with a tribunal. They can suggest a source. You may already be receiving this info from RCN. They would like to be kept updated on progress of your case. you can call them on 0808 808 7777 Wed and Thu 10-12 and 2 - 4.

Carers UK has worked with the NHS at a national level on policies to support working carers, but the difficulty with policies is they have to be implemented correctly.

Keep us posted with progress.

Best of luck.

Just as an addendum to Gavin's post: I know that a local NHS trust has a very good policy to support carers: but experience "on the ground" is that middle managers are ignoring the policy completely. I've been working on this recently and have had some success - but it's slow when the trust's priorities are mixed.
Hi Papasmurf, without seeing the full agreement or contract it is impossible to say. However the management could claim that permanant night staff are redundant.
If no one else on her grade is on permanent nights, it would seem that the management have a case. It would then be a matter of discussing redundancy terms, and she would have to seek a post on permanent nights elsewhere.
I think that management does have the right to manage (and as a former NHS Manager myself you would expect me to say that).
So the issue is really the money. If your wife is long-term sick and aged over 40, or simply aged over 50 and made redundant, then she can get early retiral with added years pension rights. Of course, there is nothing stopping her then applying for a job in a nursing home working nights - they tend to be a lot more flexible, and that could mean that she ends up taking home a lot more money and working the hours she wants...looks like a good solution if it can be negotiated.
Thanks for your support everyone.

Norman..We are aware of the many issues which are very complex. Trying to get to a solicitor through the RCN has been very difficult and we have already had to complain to get even basic help and still have not spoken to one. All our attempts at getting advice is logged and makes very worrying reading. Unfortunately i fear you all have a better view of the unions than we do!!!

Gavin... thanks for this it is particularly gratifying that the A & I Team think my wife's case interesting enough to take a interest in. I will phone soon. We are aware of the 3 month time limit although I believe it may be more because of the nature of this case. However we did have to institute the grievance procedure ourselves because we were aware time limits started and we were being totally ignored by the RCN over a critical 3 week period.

Charles....Middle managers!!! this one goes right to the top unfortunately. There appears to be a total disregard for published policies and this at a Centre of Excellance!!

Excalibur....I would agree with you .partially..over the right to manage. But this has been an excuse to bully and harass and much worse. For example just how many times does a request from management in informally asking for a change then become harassment. Policies have been totally ignored. The money issue has also up to now been ignored for Pete's sake they have told us they don't know of an accident book!!!!!

My wife needs to go through the harrowing grievance before any of that is relevant in any case.

Watch this space and I'll keep you all posted.
Well my wife received a date for her grievance to be heard and we asked for an adjournment. The reason being that all the documents we asked to be disclosed were not going to be disclosed until after the hearing date which, we thought was grossly unfair.

In the mean time we asked the RCN representative who discoverd the irregularities within the hospital etc to give a statement and attend the hearing to give evidence on my wife's behalf. Despite asking back in November 07 for this statement, and many times since then, the statement has failed to arrive. the very latest on this is that the RCN have stated that they are to confirm that the statement will not be given at all!!!! and we are waiting to hear whether the RCN have withdrawn all support or whether they have just withdrawn support regarding the statement. They have stated categorically that they will NOT attend to give support, advice and guidance during her grievance hearing itself.

They will not attend the grievance because we went ahead and submitted a grievance at a critical time when time limits of entering a grievance to the hospital within 10 working days within the terms of their Grievance Policy and also Employment Tribunal time limits started to tick away. Despite many emails over 3 weeks no contact was forthcoming from the RCN so my wife was forced to take positive action or effectively just give in, which she cannot do. So a negligent omission to act and give advice has been used against her, this is so unfair it is untrue.

Now why would a Union refuse to assist a member who is alleging Disability Discrimination, Sex Discrimination, among other irregularities that have made her ill? Especially on the day Sharon Coleman's case is given so much publicity? Advise please everybody.

We have had a wonderful piece of news, the DWP have declared that the series of incidents that she is saying made her ill ARE an Industrial Injury. So they have accepted the hospital caused her injury. The hospital, of course, deny this and accept no responsibility for it.

We are so so pleased that Sharon Coleman's case received the approval of the ECJ on Thursday 31.1.08. This is because we have stated right from the start that my wife's case was covered and they refused to accept it. The timing could not be better. In addition we have examind the hospital policies and despite very all encompassing Equality and Diversity Policies they have NOT made any provision for the needs of Staff who are also Carers of the long term ill and disabled members of their families. They do cater for the Short Term needs of staff who easily resolved crises and who then can return to work. NOTHING AT ALL for the actual difficult areas of care to tackle. This is a clear Discriminatory Policy and Policies as they differeniate between the the disabled and the non disabled, not to say between women who are carers and not carers and men etc etc and the problem starts at the very top. No wonder there are the problems of staff retention of people wanting to work and care at the same time. So the Discrimination filters down to ward level.

We are hoping they are quaking in their boots at the repercussions of the Coleman case. Role on the grievance hearing date I say because the reaction of the Grievance panel will give us an idea of what is before us.
Hi papasmurf. I am amazed that the RCN is refusing to support your wife on this and have no idea what to advise about that.

The lack of a comprehensive policy for carers goes against government guidance on the subject. Short term care situations are one thing, but a long term situation is quite another and their policy should reflect this. It's as if a hospital only took patients with colds and flu, but forget diabetes, kidney disease, etc.!

I notice Gavin had suggested you contact the CarersLine - I hope you did and that you go back to them for additional support, because you need someone on your side!

Just a quick note: the ECJ has not yet made a final decision - only the Attorney General has made his opinion clear so far. But roughly 80% of decisions fall in line with his opinion. Here's hoping.

Did you get your adjournment? If not, you probably have a good case to take to a solicitor.
Thanks Charles.

I understand the Coleman decision is not yet finalised, we are hoping it is upheld by the full panel of judges too.

My wife was totally shocked at the RCN withdrawing support especially as there is an appalling history in her case in which they are found wanting. We think it is because we have done what is right and correct as opposed to treating it as a simple dispute over a contract. They just didn't want to see the discriminatory nature of the case as a whole.

Re the 'comprehensive policy' you have nailed it. The word selective came to my mind when I read them. If you couch a policy in selective wording that excludes a significant number of staff looking after long term chronically injurde and ill family members that is surely not right and apart from the detail of harrasment and bullying etc at lower levels, the actual policies we feel are discriminatory.

We did contact the Carersline and received advice to appoint solicitors. The RCN did appoint solicitors who have backtracked! We are waiting to hear if they too have been withdrawn, I suspect they have. Hopefully we are on top of the situation though and I will keep you all informed of significant developments.
Well we are getting somewhere (although the final destination is yet unclear)!!

Fortunately we had Legal expenses cover on our household insurance for among other things - Employment Disputes. Our new solicitors are obviously now working for US and not for the interests of anyone else ie the interests of the union!! They have now issued proceedings in an Employment Tribunal for Direct Disability Discrimination, Disability Discrimination by Association (Coleman case) and Indirest Sxx Discrimination also.

I have since found out that there is no money in it for Unions to fund Employment matters as at the end of the day they are generally between colleagues who belong to the same union, so the union end up with the bills come what may. Whereas Personal Injury Actions are generally against say an insured entity such as a company or car driver, so the insurance company picks up the bill (and the union also make money on it!!). Once you start looking into this matter you find that the government don't really want to solve these problems so the fall out is in stressed out workers.

I say this because although my wife reported the "incident" to The Department of Work and Pensions as an Industrial Injury (as she was entitled to do) the evidence that was needed to prove this was extremely complicated. The reason being, lets face it, would be that there would be a deluge of claims for Industrial Declarations of Injury because of stress related incidents at work, so it is not in the interests of the government as there would be increase in benefit claims. My wife has not actually claimed benefit before anyone says she is a benefit grabber, it was exceedingly important to us just to get the Declaration of an Injury caused by the actions in the work place. The hospital although supposed to report all factual matters on a "no fault basis" refused to answer most of the DWP questions falling back on the standard phrase that they do not admit anything. So it went against them and in favour of my wife which was the first bit of good news we had.

We have now received some documentation from the hospital and it is amazing to see that there is a signed statement from someone admitting that a previously disclosed document was actually giving false information on it. In plain English it had been forged and disclosed apparently to put pressure on my wife to change her shifts against her will. It gets worse but I cannot say any more at present.

Thought you might be interested in reading the above.

Good luck to everyone in similar positions to us.