Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Brookwood Hospital Occupation 1978

The public must be made aware that there is a desperate staffing problem and that more money must be made available to the health service.' These words from Joe Fleming COHSE Branch secretary and chairperson of the Workers Council of Brookwood Hospital 1978.

Hospital, highlights what many of us in the Health Service face with the carrying out of the cuts.

Management at Brookwood have consistently refused to employ more nurses. Out of an establishment of 805,
only 420 staff are in post. On many occasions there was one trained nurse iivcharge of three wards and having to
give out drugs on their own.

The grievances at. Brookwood have piled up over several years. Complaints range from waiting three weeks for a new washer to the Divisional Nursing Officer issuing orders to ward sisters telling them when nurses should take
their tea-breaks. When proper consultation  revealed  that  more staff were needed, management simply withdrew
from the procedure.

But staff were most angry at the raising of the nursery charges. COHSE had an agreement with management
that if there was any proposals to increase prices they should be consulted. They weren't. That was when
hospital staff decided that they would run the hospital more efficiently and without all the aggravation of manage-

A Workers Council was formed and consists of all the stewards and branch officers in the hospital, plus the NUPE
branch secretary and a steward from the District General Hospital at Frimley Park.

Within two weeks of staff taking this action,  the Area  Health  Authority agreed to hold an enquiry into the grievance. But most important is the setting up of the Joint Brookwood Hospital  Committee  comprising  an  equal number of staff and management representatives, to deal with all matters affecting  services  and  facilities  at Brookwood  Hospital  and  staff employed within the Division of Psychiatry.

Brookwood have shown that it pays to dare to take action when you know it's right.