The meeting of the WCC took place on 16 March 2018. Issues discussed included:
The HCCC has now recognised this forum is indeed a consultative forum between management, the Association and workplace delegates. This is in accordance with the 1997 Consultation Policy and Guidelines, which is referenced in Clause 65.1 of the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award 2009:
There shall be effective means of consultation, as set out in the Consultative Arrangements Policy and Guidelines document, on matters of mutual interest and concern, both formal and informal, between management and the Association.
It was agreed management and the Association would have four representatives each at future meetings; chairing of meetings will rotate between the parties; the WCC will be renamed the Joint Consultative Committee and meetings will be held on a quarterly basis. This discussion represented a positive outcome for members after the confusion which occurred late last year.
The PSA and members continued to express concerns about the excessive workloads carried by a number of staff, particularly those with more than 100 cases.
When this matter was raised, management responded by advising there has been a significant investment with three additional staff and improved business processes with further IT changes to be implemented to assist in quicker decisions.
Management also advised crisis communication skills, managing unreasonable complainant conduct and resilience training have been provided. In addition a new EAP provider has been engaged where staff can access six appointments.
Clearly, there is a disconnect between management and staff and we remain extremely concerned about the work, health and safety issues at the HCCC. Not only are staff expected to manage their heavy workload but they also face the possibility of negative performance ratings if they don’t achieve their KPIs.
The PSA has an increased focus on mental health and will consider all available options to call management to account for not acting to address excessive workloads.
Actions following People Matters Survey
In regard to the report of consultant Carmel McGregor, who was engaged after publication of the People Matters Survey results, we were advised as follows:
- workshops were held with staff
- additional resources were provided to Assessments which has been extended to June 2018
- staff were engaged in the Strategic Plan and their views were considered
- steps were taken to improve communication with staff in terms of executive decision making
- HCCC values and respectful behaviours were reaffirmed
- the recruitment process is more transparent.
Essentially we were advised things were getting better as a result of these actions. As you will remember, the PSA conducted a staff survey last year which showed significant problems at the HCCC. We propose to conduct another survey shortly to test out for ourselves whether staff are of the view that things have improved. Findings will be discussed with members and it would then be proposed to provide a copy of the survey and the results to management.
Management provided a briefing about proposed refurbishments. At present the proposal is modest and includes a better common staff area and changes to the use of current office spaces. Achievement of the overall vision is long term and includes more staffing resources, more work stations, significantly reconfigured spaces and budget enhancements.
We were assured that the HCCC is not moving in the direction of hot-desking.
The PSA would welcome additional resources in the next State Budget. Any additional funding should be directed towards addressing work, health and safety issues and reducing excessive workloads.
People who contact the HCCC are not customers
The PSA made the point that patients and their families who contact the HCCC about their experiences with the health system are not customers. We placed on record that while this term may reflect a current bureaucratic trend in NSW, it is completely inappropriate given the HCCC’s statutory functions.
PSA members have access to advice, support and representation, either via the PSA’s Member Support Centre (ph 1300 772 679) or by contacting your Industrial Officer or Organiser.
Carmel McKeough ‑ Industrial Officer
Nigel Miles – Organiser
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