HSU officials and workplace delegates recently participated in consultation to discuss changes proposed by Managers of St Vincent’s Sub-Acute, Ambulatory & Community Services (SACS).
It was proposed by management that the position of Transitional Aged Care Program Coordinator, which was previously open to nursing or allied health candidates, would be deleted and replaced with a NUM position to provide nursing leadership. The position was most recently filled in an acting capacity by an allied health professional.
TACP is staffed by a majority of allied health professionals. Allied health professionals are equally deserving of professional leadership and management at a community service program level.
HSU Members reported significant improvements in service coordination, patient care and professional leadership, when an allied health professional acted as TACP Coordinator. Members believed deletion of this position would detrimentally impact the efficient operation of the service and would remove a career progression and management path for allied health professionals.
While allied health members supported the provision of increased nursing leadership and oversight, they held serious concerns about the service impact of the loss of a senior allied health position in the TACP Structure. This position provides similar allied health professional leadership and service coordination, as well as career progression opportunities. For all these reasons, it was important to retain a Level 4 Allied Health position within the organisational structure.
Despite SACS Management wishing to rapidly progress the restructure and deletion of the Level 4 Coordinator position by closing consultation, the HSU ensured that consultation continue to advance members' concerns. Management were open and receptive to the case made, and while retaining the newly created NUM position, have also created a new Intake Officer position, classified as a Level 4 Health Professional.
TACP HSU members now know that they indeed have a strong collective voice, influence and power. This means their needs and recommendations can be presented, considered, addressed and implemented.
Furthermore, these same staff were recently advised that office space was insufficient to their needs due to COVID guidelines and that they may need to work from cafes or their cars. Again, this issue was raised by the HSU, with the result that on-site office space and access to computers will now be provided.
A union's effectiveness and negotiation power depends on the strength and density of its membership base. These outcomes are a result of organisation and dialogue at the workplace level. If you have a colleague who isn't yet a member of the HSU, please encourage them to join the Union at www.hsu.asn.au/join or to call 1300 478 679.