RCN celebrate important amendment to Trade Union Bill

The link between facility time, efficiency and patient safety was made during the debate by nurse crossbench peer Baroness Watkins of Tavistock

The House of Lords yesterday voted to amend the Trade Union Bill, removing the clause which would allow facility time to be capped.

The RCN has previously warned that attempts to limit facility time, which enables representatives to carry out their trade union role, will increase staff turnover and harm productivity. The college supported yesterday’s amendment, tabled by Lord Kerslake.

Evidence from RCN representatives shows that those who get sufficient facility time are able to influence important issues such as staffing levels, the management of bank and agency nurses, and staff sickness and stress.

This link between facility time, efficiency and patient safety was made by nurse crossbench peer Baroness Watkins of Tavistock.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies called the amendment a victory for patient care.

‘Limits on facility time are intended to save public sector money, but they would in fact have the opposite effect,’ she said.

‘Even more importantly, facility time enables employers and representatives to work in partnership, improve learning support and to influence crucial issues such as safe staffing levels which help to improve patient care.

‘The government and MPs must now listen to the powerful arguments made by peers, and the strength of feeling from employers. The government should think twice before reinstating this damaging clause.’

To read a transcript of last night's Trade Union Bill debate click here.

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