The government, NHS Employers and unions have committed to joint working by agreeing to sign up to a partnership agreement.
All parties will work together on the implications of policy on the workforce.
In particular, the partnership will:
- contribute trades union and employer perspectives to the development of policy
- provide constructive comments on emerging policy at a formative stage
- contribute ideas on the workforce implications of developing policy and implementation
- promote effective communications between partners.
Heath secretary Patricia Hewitt said: “The views of staff matter – staff have the knowledge and experience to know what really works and we need to harness this knowledge and engage the experience to help facilitate change. It is these messages which the trades unions brought to me in the summer.”
Karen Jennings, head of health at public sector union Unison, said: “We are pleased with this development, it clearly shows that the government and employers have listened to us as the voice of the staff in the NHS.
“The coming months will be crucial in testing out how the new arrangement will work. Partnership working can only succeed if the government demonstrates that it is listening and taking action on staff concerns about policy direction.”
NHS Employers director Steve Barnett said: “It is very important that employers have a say in the development and implementation of any new policies that will affect patient services or the working lives of their staff.”