Tuesday 16th March 2021
VACCINATION PROGRAMME – COPY CORRESPONDENCE FROM CABINET SECRETARY
Thursday 4th March 2021
Long COVID is having a devastating effect on the lives of many UNISON members. Assistant equality officer Haifa Rashed reports on how the union is responding.
Long COVID: ‘It’s frightening not knowing where this will end up’
Thursday 4th March 2021
‘Peace of mind and protection’ – why members are getting the jab
Friday 19th February 2021
UNISON media release – 19 February 2021
Expensive private sector should be last resort for COVID vaccination programme, says UNISON.
UNISON has written to Jeane Freeman Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health today to request that she instruct health boards only to use independent contractors as a last resort rather than offering them work ahead of their own NHS and bank staff – for the COVID vaccination programme.
The trade union say there is a significant inequality of payments by NHS boards using these contractors instead of directly employed or bank staff. Private contractors get £231.00 for 3.5 hours work and NHS staff band 5, at the top of pay scale, get £56.63 for 3.5 hours work.
Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland head of health, said: “Using private contractors like this is a huge cost to health boards. They should only use these contractors as a last resort rather than offering them work ahead of their own and bank staff.
Although many professionals are qualified to give a vaccinations NHS staff are not only the cheapest they are also experts, doing them regularly every day. And NHS staff know how important this is and want to do everything they can to contribute to the COVID vaccination programme.
Initially staff were getting shifts, however, in some health boards they introduced private contractors at highly inflated costs and directly employed NHS and bank staff stopped getting shifts. This is not sustainable. It is a huge cost to the NHS and not the best use of their considerable skills. The Scottish government must look at this urgently”
Thursday 11th February 2021
Please see below Scottish Government Director’s Letter: Stay at Home Regulations
Wednesday 10th February 2021
COVID 19 Vaccination Programme – Bringing Forward Priority Cohorts
Wednesday 10th February 2021
Update on the COVID 19 Vaccination Programme
Wednesday 10th February 2021
Annual leave update for NHS staff
Monday 25th January 2021
UNISON Scotland has been lobbying Government and seeking negotiated agreements for homeworking expenses to be paid as allowances via payroll. We have not made any significant headway in any sector on early agreement and payments on this basis. So without prejudice to UNISON’s ongoing efforts to secure collective agreements with Employers, we are issuing information to allow you to make an individual claim to HMRC for tax relief for these new expenses incurred for business during this tax year which ends 31 March 2021.
Additional costs include things like heating, metered water bills, home contents insurance, business calls or a new broadband connection. They do not include costs that would stay the same whether you were working at home or in an office, such as mortgage interest, rent or council tax.
You may also be able to claim tax relief on equipment you’ve bought, such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone. How much you can claim
You can either claim tax relief on:
£6 a week from 6 April 2020 (for previous tax years the rate is £4 a week) – you will not need to keep evidence of your extra costs
the exact amount of extra costs you’ve incurred above the weekly amount – you’ll need evidence such as receipts, bills or contracts
You’ll get tax relief based on the rate at which you pay tax. For example, if you pay the 20% basic rate of tax and claim tax relief on £6 a week you would get £1.20 per week in tax relief (20% of £6).
To claim these expenses, you need a Government Gateway user ID and password. You can create a user ID if you do not already have one.
Creating a Government Gateway ID usually takes about 10 minutes. It works best if you have:
your National Insurance number
a recent payslip or P60 or a valid UK passport
Please see below and cascade this information your friends & family who are working from home.
Thursday 21st January 2021
Please note the below agreement for the carrying over and usage of annual leave as agreed.
Wednesday 6th January 2021
You should remain at home. People shielding will have received a letter on this. If it’s possible for you to work from home, this should be organised, but if not, you should not be at work (this will be special leave).
Contact the Branch if you need any information/support.
Wednesday 6th January 2021
A key part of keeping everyone safe while we roll out the vaccination programme is that you should only leave your home for essential purposes. The First Minister has been clear that if you can work from home, then you should work from home. We know many of our colleagues don’t have this option, because they are delivering front line services to patients and communities. But if all or part of your job is usually in an office or location that you don’t have to attend in order to continue working effectively, you should work from home and use MS Teams for meetings and to stay in touch with colleagues, following discussions and agreement with your line manager.
If you are unable to work from home, for example for welfare reasons, or because of technical difficulties, please speak to your line manager in the first instance to arrange office access or additional support or equipment on a case by case basis.
For those who are attending workplaces we need you to be extra vigilant in always adhering to the FACTS guidance. In particular, 1m distancing in workplace canteens is no longer valid – you must now always stay 2m away from your workmate.
Wednesday 6th January 2021
We know there has been a lot of concern from students across the UK about redeployment into the workforce as hospital admission rise. Please read the latest update from UNISON below.
Tuesday 5th January 2021
Scottish government must honour second vaccination dates or risk wasting thousands of vaccination slots, says UNISON
UNISON Scotland has today (Tuesday) called on the Scottish Government to honour scheduled dates for staff to receive their second dose COVID vaccination or risk thousands of vaccination slots being wasted across the country.
The change in the Scottish Government’s policy means health boards have been instructed not to administer the scheduled second dose vaccination and instead re-book other staff for a first dose vaccination in their place.
The announcement, which was made on 31 December, comes into effect today.
Tom Waterson, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “This week, in NHS Lothian alone, there are 5,500 staff booked in for their second dose vaccination. It is unrealistic to think these slots can be cancelled and re-booked with just a few days’ notice and there is a very real risk that thousands of these vaccination slots will be wasted.
“This flies in the face of the Scottish Government’s plans to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“The Scottish Government needs to honour the agreed dates for the second dose vaccinations to prevent both wastage and any undue stress on already under-pressure health and social care staff.”
Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland head of health, said: “There was no consultation with trade unions on this policy change and it is not supported by clear evidence from Pfizer which will seriously diminish the trust and confidence of staff who had consented to the two doses.
“There is also widespread confusion, inconvenience of rescheduling and, more importantly, a serious risk that doses of the vaccine may need to be destroyed due to lack of time to make new appointments for first doses for other staff.
“It is vital the Scottish Government sees sense and commits to the scheduled second dose vaccination dates.
Monday 4th January 2021
Officials from UNISON Scotland met today with the Scottish Government re the change in vaccine protocol. They raised a number of issues but in particular the SG decision to instruct Health Boards to cancel 2nd vaccination appointments. They asked them to allow boards flexibility with these clinics and have been advised they will respond within a day. We will of course keep you updated. This is all the information we have at this time.
Sunday 3rd January 2021
Senior UNISON Scotland Officials met this morning to discuss the new vaccine protocol, we have requested urgent meetings with both government officers and the Cabinet Secretary. We have also notified them of our concerns around the timing of the notification (1830 hrs on 31st December) giving no chance of any meaningful discussions that we could have then passed on to the membership.
We believe Health & Social staff deserve better, they deserve to be fully informed, they deserve to be treated with respect.
We will continue to push the government and ask at the very least those booked in for their second jab receive it on the date agreed.
Thursday 31st December 2020
The latest Covid Vaccine update for staff is now available, please see attached.
Please note that we have already raised our concerns with senior management about the changes imposed by the Scottish Government as we believe it is unfair to those staff already vaccinated who are expecting their second dose as of next week.
Thursday 24th December 2020
Extract from a Scottish Government email re shielding at Tier 4:
We continue to urge employers to support employees to work from home where possible. Where is not possible to work from home, the majority of workplaces can be made safe. Any concerns should be discussed with employers who are responsible for making the workplace safe and putting protective measures in place. If it is not possible to make the workplace or duties safe, the CMOs letter can be used in the same way as a fit note (called a Shielding Notification).
However, we are continuing to emphasise that the majority of workplaces can be made safe and advise only to use the CMO letter as fit note where workplace and duties cannot be made covid-safe, or, if it is not possible to travel to work in a covid-safe way (those on the shielding list are advised not to use public transport in level 4 areas).
(Those who were shielding previously will also receive a letter direct from the Chief Medical Officer on this)
Thursday 17th December 2020
Please see attached the latest update on the Covid-19 NHS Fife Staff Vaccination programme.
Friday 11th December 2020
Please find attached Issue 3 of the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme update for Staff.
Thursday 10th December 2020
Please find attached a COVID-19 vaccine update for staff, for information.
Tuesday 8th December 2020
Senior Nurse, Marie Paterson, has become the first person in Fife to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Marie was vaccinated earlier today by colleague, Candice Ross, at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. Both nurses are due to play an important role in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Fife.
NHS Fife took delivery of the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines earlier this week after it was approved by the MHRA. The vaccine must be stored between -80°C to -60°C and requires to be thawed prior to being administered. Those vaccinated against COVID-19 receive two doses of the vaccine given around 3-4 weeks apart.
Healthcare workers involved in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine in Fife will be amongst the first to be vaccinated, along with those involved in directly caring for patients with the virus.
After receiving the vaccine, Marie Paterson said: “I was delighted to be given the opportunity to be the first person in Fife vaccinated against COVID-19. I feel a real sense of duty to be vaccinated and I think it’s really important that we, as healthcare staff, do all we can to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is scheduled to take a number of months, with those most at risk of the effects of the virus prioritised. The programme in Fife, like elsewhere in Scotland, will follow the independent advice received from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which recommends prioritising those at greatest clinical need.
The vaccination of care home residents in Scotland is due to begin week commencing 14 December 2020.
NHS Fife Chief Executive, Carol Potter, said: “Today is an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19 and I’m delighted to see the first vaccinations carried out here in Fife. We have been preparing for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for a number of months, and while we expect a mass vaccination of this scale to be challenging, we are confident that the necessary preparations are in place to enable us to deliver the vaccine effectively. This is by no means the end of the pandemic, however, and it’s vital that people in Fife do not become complacent and continue to follow the public health measures in place if we are to continue to reduce transmission. The rollout of our vaccination programme will take many months and we ask our population to remain patient as we follow the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advice in prioritising those most at risk of the effects of COVID-19”.
Tuesday 8th December 2020
Please find attached an update around staff vaccination against COVID-19, which started earlier today.
Friday 4th December 2020
UNISON Guidance on COVID-19 Immunisation for NHS Staff can be found at link below.
Links to other guidance and information are also attached below.
Statement from NMC on COVID-19 vaccines –
For information – PHE guidance for healthcare workers
Vaccine competency tool –
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Call for minute’s silence to honour all workers who have died from coronavirus
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UNISON welcomes Scottish Government’s Personal Protection Equipment Taskforce
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CORONAVIRUS LOCAL GOVERNMENT: COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare settings
CORONAVIRUS HEALTH STAFF: Employers’ Duty of Care
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New guidance for home and social care staff in Scotland puts home care staff at risk
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CORONAVIRUS HEALTH STAFF: STAC update
CORONAVIRUS HEALTH STAFF: Joint statement on expanding the nursing and midwifery workforce
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE STAFF: Revised PPE Guidance
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CORONAVIRUS HEALTH STAFF:Revised PPE guidance
CORONAVIRUS HEALTH STAFF AND SOCIAL CARE: Forthcoming PPE guidance
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CORONAVIRUS ALL MEMBERS: Q&A on Coronavirus & Work