Coronavirus Guidance from the UK NHS Staff Council

For immediate release

Coronavirus guidance for NHS trusts and health staff published

Guidance for hospitals and NHS staff about the risks posed by the coronavirus has today (Thursday) been published by NHS employers and unions.

The advice is being circulated to the 241 NHS trusts across the UK. It seeks to ensure that every part of the NHS is fully prepared should any patients with suspected Covid-19 require a diagnosis or treatment.

The aim is to ensure staff know exactly what to do with individuals who’re concerned they have the virus and how to treat infected patients, with minimal risk to themselves.

The guidance also seeks to reassure both health employees and the public, alerting everyone to be vigilant to prevent the wider spread of the virus.

While the handful of cases in the UK are being treated in specialist units, the guidance says this is likely to change should more cases be diagnosed.

It advises NHS trusts to put in place measures now so they are fully prepared. These include: All staff – including those employed by contractors – must know how to lower their infection risk. For example, regular handwashing and using – and disposing of – tissues.

Ambulance and emergency department staff must know what to do should someone suspected of having the virus require treatment.
Assess which employees would be most at risk should there be confirmed cases.
Identify measures to limit the spread of infection. For example, how to put on and take off protective equipment safely.
Ensure staff are easily able to raise any concerns with senior managers.
Make sure health workers treating Covid-19 patients are able to take adequate breaks on and between their shifts.
Any staff treating suspected cases must know exactly what to do if they begin to feel unwell and that the details of those working in direct contact with ill patients remain confidential.

Chair of the health unions on the NHS staff council and UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “These sensible contingency plans will help reassure staff, patients and the public that the NHS is fully prepared for any eventuality.

“Encouraging individuals to take everyday precautions is essential. But so is the need not to panic or feel unduly alarmed. Being fully prepared now could make the world of difference later.”

Chair of the employers on the NHS staff council Jon Lenney said: “The NHS staff council guidance recognises the importance of partnership working between employers, staff and trade unions in implementing plans to ensure that appropriate precautions are taken to maintain the safety of patients, staff and the public we serve.

“All parties are encouraged to keep abreast of the latest guidance and advice issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, alongside advice from local infection prevention and control specialists.”

Associate director of employment relations at the Royal College of Nursing Josephine Brady said: “Occupational exposure to infections is a risk to health care workers so it is essential that there is clear guidance for employers and staff.

“Nurses and other health care workers are crucial to halting the spread of the virus and must be supported by employers to protect themselves and the public as the situation develops.”

Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey

Unite Releases Gambling Workplace Charter

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has launched a workplace gambling charter, which has been created to provide a framework for employers and unions to assist workers who are having gambling problems.

It is estimated that problem gambling is costing the economy £1.2 billion per year.

The charter offers practical support and information on how employers and unions can promote the health and wellbeing of their workers who are experiencing gambling related harm, reduce sickness and absence, and assist those who want or need to change their relationship with gambling.

Problem gamblers are: 2.69 times more likely to have visited their GP with a mental health issue, 8.54 times more likely to be accessing mental health services, 5.53 times more likely to have been a hospital inpatient within the last three months and 4.4 times more likely to be in prison.

Several employers have already signed up the charter prior to its launch including: Blackpool Transport and Bolton at Home. Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Gambling Commission are expected to sign in the coming weeks.

Unite head of education Jim Mowatt said: “This is an excellent initiative which is aimed at ensuring that problem gambling can be identified at an early stage and workers receive the support they need in the workplace.

“Problem gambling does not just affect an individual, but can have a devastating effect on families.

“By tackling the problem early the related problems of financial difficulties, relationship breakdowns, mental health issues and the loss of employment, can be minimised and avoided.

“This charter is good for employers as well as workers, by providing early support so that problems such as sickness absence will decrease and valued employees are more likely to be able to continue their employment.”

Download the charter here at:

For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.


Unite statement on ‘dire’ NHS hospital waiting times and delays in A&E

Unite Press Release

Immediate release: Thursday 14 November 2019

Unite statement on ‘dire’ NHS hospital waiting times and delays in A&E

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “Today’s (Thursday 14 November) dire figures for the NHS in England on hospital waiting lists and the worst delays in A&E  since 2004 are searing indictments of the Tories’ austerity programme since 2010.

“It is clear that in cash terms the NHS is in ‘intensive care’ and Boris Johnson’s claims to boost funding is an election mirage and can’t hide the Tories’ failure to sufficiently invest in the NHS.

“Labour, which founded the NHS in 1948, has a coherent plan to increase spending on the NHS and nurse it back to financial health.

“Dedicated NHS staff are being stretched to the limit because of the Tories’ failed stewardship of the NHS which remains the jewel in the crown of the UK’s welfare system.”



Notes to editors:


For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065


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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.