GHA extremely disappointment in Unite leader’s statement
The GHA is taken back by the statement issued by Unite leader Sharon Graham. The statement was clearly authored by someone who does not know or understand Gibraltar, and does not accurately reflect the situation within the GHA or the sentiments expressed by the workforce to the Director General on a daily basis.
The GHA recognises that some staff have legitimate concerns, which the GHA is working with them to address. However, there are also staff who are willing to listen to senior management, understand the organisational position and who want to work with senior management for the benefit of both staff and patients.
Unite’s allegation of ‘dangerous and unfair practices’ is wholly untrue. Any concerns regarding patient safety are immediately addressed. The GHA maintains that its primary responsibility is to its patients. Similarly, the GHA does not recognise Unite’s assertion that the lives and jobs of staff have ‘been made worse’.
Since the Director General began in the new role in January, happy staff have worked with senior management on service development and are already translating their ideas into practice. There is no evidence that lives have been made worse as a result of the changes being implemented as part of Reset, Restart and Recover.
The GHA remains committed to listening to staff and enabling them to lead the transformational agenda. The GHA strongly disputes Unite’s untrue accusations regarding the misuse of insecure contracts. The GHA has already publicly confirmed that over 380 contracts have been signed since January.
The GHA is working hard on legacy cases and consciously appointing more staff to permanent positions as part of a considered policy to move away from the use of short-term contracts. Indeed, the GHA has recently appointed 50 new support workers to permanent posts who were previously on bank and short-term contracts.
This is just one example of the GHA’s open door policy of working alongside staff to address legitimate concerns. Unite have, at best, misunderstood the GHA’s stance on nursing contracts and are misleading their members as to the situation. The GHA, far from cancelling relief cover for nurses, are in fact appointing more nurses to permanent contracts, which in turn means that less money is needed to fund relief cover. The GHA reassures nurses that relief cover will always be available where and when it is necessary.
The Director General, Patrick Geoghegan, said: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public that vulnerable people will not be put at risk on my watch. I, together with the GHA’sexecutive team and clinical management team, remain determined to continue to work on behalf of the GHA’s patients and ensure they receive the care they deserve.
‘I am extremely disappointed at the wording in the statement issued by Unite and I don’t believe that it reflects current day practice in the GHA. It must be very disappointing for those staff across the GHA who are working so hard every day to see their efforts disparaged in this way by those who purport to represent them.’