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Health partnership agreement renewed

Health unions, employers and the government have published a refreshed Partnership Agreement that details how they intend to co-operate to help make NHS policy work best for staff and patients.

The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) on Thursday 9 February published a refreshed Partnership Agreement between health unions, employers and the government.

The partners of the SPF - NHS Employers, trade unions and the Department of Health - have signed the new agreement to work together, on behalf of their constituents, to help make NHS policy work best for staff and patients.

The agreement sets out key principles to reinforce effective partnership working and restates the SPF’s shared commitment to meet the workforce challenges facing the NHS in a supportive and constructive way. It outlines how partners will engage on workforce issues and sets out agreed working arrangements for the SPF.

To read a full copy of the new SPF Partnership Agreement click here.

Recent achievements of the SPF include:

• Increased staff uptake of the flu vaccination this winter through a successful campaign led by NHS Employers to encourage the NHS workforce to lead by example, protecting themselves and their patients

• Timely and much needed guidance to support staff called 'Speaking up for a healthy NHS - how to implement and review whistleblowing arrangements in your organisation'

• Delivery of the HR Transition Framework for NHS staff to support them during transition and enable them to deliver better patient care.

Health Minister Simon Burns said: "My ministerial colleagues and I value the Social Partnership Forum. It provides a forum that upholds high levels of cooperation and commitment to improve the health and social care outcomes for patients. I welcome the valuable input the forum provides to developing policy to support the NHS workforce."

NHS Employers organisation director and chair of the SPF employer side Dean Royles said: "The NHS has enjoyed a progressive approach to industrial relations and this has benefited patients, staff and employers. The new Partnership Agreement is one way we can keep reviewing and reinvigorating these relationships. The Social Partnership Forum allows employers to get an early indication of health policy, give their perspective on how policy should be developed and highlight the workforce implications.

"In particular, the forum allows employers to influence how proposals are implemented and, through discussions with colleagues in the Department of Health and NHS Trade Unions, to try and make sure they realise benefits for patients."

SPF chair staff side Christina McAnea said: "The NHS trade unions believe it is in their members' best interests to engage in partnership working with the Government and employers to seek solutions to challenges and problems.  Partnership working puts an onus on both employers and trade unions to engage and consult on all decisions that affect staff. Partnership underpins and facilitates sound and effective employer and trade union relations and has a track record of delivering real gains for staff and patients."