NHS Social Partnership Forum launches new Web site

By Sam Collins
12:00 AM

A new Web site to support partnerships between NHS staff and trade unions has been announced by the UK government.

The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) is a partnership between the Department of Health, NHS Employers and NHS Trade Unions to improve working relationships and involve partners in the workforce implications of NHS policy development.

The new SPF website includes:

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  • Advice and materials to support and encourage partnership working between employers and Trade unions at all levels in the NHS;
  • Case studies, examples of good practice and a selection of toolkits to support regional and local partnership working;
  • Details and application materials for the new NHS Partnership Fund. NHS organisations can bid for money from this £500,000 fund to support partnership projects that support NHS Constitution pledges, meet local organisational goals, effectively communicate and engage with NHS staff and improve the quality of patient care.

 

The Web site was a key recommendation in a progress report by the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) on the role and function of the National SPF.

The IPA report "NHS Social Partnership Forum Review - Final Report" highlights the good progress the SPF has made to date, praises the strong Ministerial support and effective working practices and makes recommendations as to how these can be built upon in partnership.

Health Minister Ann Keen said, "Employers and unions working constructively together on a project can make a real difference. The Social Partnership Forum has successfully looked into ways in which it can increase staff involvement in improving patient services, therefore delivering on commitments made in the NHS Constitution. This Web site and funding will help NHS staff feel more supported and engaged in their organisations.

Karen Jennings, chair of the SPF staff side, said on behalf of the NHS Trade Unions, "Instilling a culture of partnership working into the bedrock of the NHS will pay dividends for patients and staff. It makes sense to listen to staff and their trade unions and to share the experience and innovations generated by them across the whole of the NHS. I have no doubt that the result will lead to better patient care."

Gill Bellord, NHS employers' director of Pay Pensions and Employment Relations said, "The new Social Partnership forum website is a great opportunity to demonstrate partnership working in action in the NHS. There are tough challenges ahead for health care organisations that can only be met by everyone working together to solve them. We hope that the good practice ideas will provide help and encouragement to others. Our aim is that the Web site will be useful to and used by all the social partners."

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