UPDATE - Our campaign for Office Accommodation

11-May-2018

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As previously reported, ASMOF is campaigning hard to retain and enforce the right for Staff Specialists’ to have access to appropriate Office Accommodation.

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Where it started

Since commencing the campaign, we have been contacted by many members across many hospitals raising concerns about office accommodation. This includes Blacktown, Campbelltown, Sydney Children’s, Concord and Hornsby. This shows that this issue is deeply and widely felt among members.

As part of this campaign we have taken NSW Health and Western Sydney LHD to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission over their failure to consult about changes to office accommodation at Westmead.

In this dispute the Commissioner made the following Recommendation which was accepted by NSW Health “That the Ministry of Health or networks prospectively consult with ASMOF at an early stage when hospitals are to be built, redeveloped or designed at the design stage”.

Unfortunately, the day before we were due for another appearance in the Commission, NSW Health unilaterally rescinded the existing Policy Directive that directly deals with office accommodation ( PD 2005_576 Office Accommodation Policy-Public Health Organisations and Ambulance Service ). This leave a policy vacuum.

The PD is important as it states Staff Specialists with a fraction of 0.8 or greater were entitled to their own office, essentially reinforcing the Staff Specialists’ Award requirement.

The PD is also important because it provides a framework within which NSW Health and Local Health Districts should consult the unions over changes to accommodation. We are now concerned that the approach taken by some Local Health Districts and Health Infrastructure to ‘consult’ by excluding Doctors from the process, or, if they participate, takes no notice of their views, will become widespread.

It is vital to fully participate in any consultation process. In the Westmead dispute, the Local Health District asserted that they had fully consulted with staff and had reams of documents attesting to their process. They have also asserted that they fully consulted with doctors at Blacktown, who, the Ministry stated, “were happy with the arrangements”. We know this to be false.

We requested Union NSW hold a meeting of the Health Unions to discuss this issue and a meeting was held on 9 May. It was agreed amongst the unions that Unions NSW will write to NSW health demanding the whilst the unions negotiate over the Policy Directive that the current PD remains in place.

If NSW Health refused to do this we will need to lodge a dispute in the NSW IRC.