NHS Employers has formally declared that the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HSCA) has been given National Bargaining Rights for all grades of doctor in England. The HSCA has become the first NHS trade union in decades to win the right to discuss directly with employers on behalf of hospital doctors.
In future, the HSCA will join the British Medical Association (BMA) in all national negotiations with Government and NHS Employers on pay and terms and conditions covering hospital doctors in England, including specialists, junior doctors and consultants. The HCSA is looking for similar national collective rights for doctors in wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The HCSA will focus completely on hospital doctors, and has no plans to represent General Practice.
The HCSA is affiliated to the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) and has more than 3,500 members. The HSCA received confirmation of the move from NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer following years of talks.
Eddie Saville, the chief executive of HCSA described the decision as a “positive and refreshing” change. It will help protect doctors from day-to-day workplace issues such as staff shortages and stress, to national issues such as underfunding.
Professor Ross Welch, the president of HSCA said the entry of HSCA at the national negotiating table is a game changing moment. Now, an alternative professional trade union will be able to give a voice to the thousands of doctors in hospitals who for whatever reason feel disenfranchised.
It might seem a small functional change but for the first time a union has been granted full negotiating recognition for medical contracts other than the BMA, he added.
A spokesman for NHS Employers said that the HSCA had been looking for national recognition for a number of years and has previously take part in a number of national fora, including the NHS Social Partnership Forum (SPF).
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