Thursday, 12 July 2007

Management announce review of strategy!

Following the Board meeting on July 5th, which NBS union reps lobbied once again, Chairman Bill Fullager released this letter to staff on July 10th.

Letter to staff

Dear colleagues,

As you know, NHSBT has made considerable progress in a number of areas since the NHSBT strategy was launched last November. The construction of Filton (on time and on budget), the increase in appointments for blood donors and the record numbers of organs available for transplantation are all tangible examples of this progress.

Given the importance of the service strategy to both patients and the NHS, and in the light of our discussions, with customers and colleagues over the past six months, the NHSBT Board has decided to hold a review of the assumptions underpinning the strategy and its planned changes. This review will be led by Clive Ronaldson, in his new role as interim managing director of the NBS.

The Board remains committed to the vision and set out in the service strategy announced last November. At the same time, we have acknowledged and listened to concerns expressed and issues raised by staff and customers about aspects of these plans. In instigating this review, the Board is seeking to ensure that proposed changes will deliver the greatest benefits to patients. Where the review demonstrates that changes to the strategy are warranted, these will be made.

This means that although some changes in the early phases of the NHSBT change programme will continue as planned, fundamental developments - such as changes to aspects of the current configuration of processing and testing facilities - will not begin until the review is complete.

You will, clearly, have questions about the review and its implications for you and your site. This decision has only just been made and we wanted to make you aware of developments as soon as possible. We are currently confirming the terms of the review and how it will work, in discussion with staff representatives, and will be in a position to give you further details, for example on the timescale, over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we welcome your views. If you have any immediate queries, please talk to your line manager or send them to us via Connect.

With best wishes,

Bill Fullagar
10 July 2007

This is a massive breakthrough for the campaign! Until now the directors have flatly refused to consider any change to their proposals, no matter who from or how sensible. They have felt untouchable. For them to now put the brakes on and admit they are ready to think again about even small parts of the plans means the opposition is reaching a level that they cannot ignore. It can be no coincidence that this letter comes just after staff-side beginning steps for a ballot on industrial action. Bosses have seriously underestimated the staff's willingness to be pushed around and see the Blood Service they are proud of fall into a messy decline in the name of 'savings'.

With this knowledge to spur us on now is the time to carry on campaigning at full speed. Service users and patients still need a bigger say in the running of the NBS. This review shows that we can make sure that the policy-makers have no choice but to involve us all.

It's far from over! The future is still unwritten.


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