Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cane Hill Hospital Work-In August 1976

 Cane Hill Hospital Sit-In
Cane Hill Hospital Occupation
wins 40 more Nurses
18-21 August 1976

An allocation of ten additional nurses for each day of action - that's the balance COHSE nursing at Cane Hill hospital, Surrey are making of their four days of struggle.

Steps are also being taken to fill vacant posts for unqualified staff, and action is now being considered on an area or regional basis to deal with massive under-staffing.

From 18 to 21 August, staff at the psychiatric hospital in Coulsdon, Surrey, provided emergency service

With laundry and linen rooms shut, no domestic services, and no occupational or industrial therapy.
many staff were in effect sitting-in.

Care of patients was restricted to their basic physical needs, with a total ban on new admissions. Drivers
were available for emergency duties only.

 After at first refusing to even discuss Cane Hill's chronic under-staffing, Bromley AHA's eventual offer of more nurses for the hospital was forced up to 40 at a meeting on 21 August.When this was put to a mass
meeting of staff, there was a narrowmajority in favour of calling off the industrial action.

'We would have backed a strike all the way,' says COHSE branch chairperson W Glynne John.

'We want two hundred more nursing staff across the psychiatric division, and if the discussions the
AHA has now agreed to hold do not result in a big improvement, we will seriously consider further action.

'The staffing situation in the whole of the area and region is scandalous,' Glynne adds, 'and we are now looking to action at this level.'

Neighbouring Surrey Area Health Authority appealed last March for £2,250,000 for desperately needed psychiatric
staff. Instead, its budget has been cut by £2 millions.

Advertisements have already been placed for Cane Hill's 40 nurses, who will increase the complement to 610.

The four days' action also resulted in: full information on staffing estabishment and costs; prior agreement
before staff are moved; proposals for local consultation procedures; and improvements in the pay system.

COHSE branch leadership included W Glynne John, COHSE stewards Colin Brown and Roy Brown, and Regional Secretary Bob Harmes 

Picture is from the Morning Star of Cane Hill Hospital nursing staff at a mass meeting 18 August 1976.