About us>>Part two: Classes of information held>>12. Human resources

12. Human resources

Barts and The London NHS Trust is the largest employer in east London, employing around 7,000 staff working in a wide variety of roles to ensure the delivery of the highest standards of care to our patients. Around 15 per cent of this total are doctors and dentists, 30 per cent are nurses and midwives and 20 per cent hold other clinical posts. The Trust seeks to recruit and retain the highest-calibre of staff, giving them the support and direction they need to develop their careers while achieving a balance between their work and outside interests. 

Diversity and equality

The Trust serves one of the most diverse populations in the UK in respect of language, culture, religion and ethnicity, and we seek to reflect this in the makeup of our workforce. No form of discrimination is tolerated within our hospitals, and we have policies and initiatives in place to respect, support and promote awareness of the diverse needs of patients, staff and visitors. The Trust’s equalities work is Equality and Diversity work, led by the Equality Group and the Patient and Community Involvement Committee which reports to the Trust Board.

The Trust’s commitment to promoting equality among staff is formally outlined in our five-year strategy document Equality and Diversity: A Strategy for the Modern Workforce, published in January 2002.

The Trust is looking at all aspects of diversity and equality and has produced a Race Equality Scheme which covers both service provision and staff employment issues.

The Trust has a Disability Network which provides a forum for addressing issues relating to the recruitment and retention of staff with disabilities. Following a review by Disability Employment Advisers in June 2003, the Trust retained the Two Ticks Positive About Disabled People symbol, which it was granted in 1997. This means that the Trust was assessed as meeting five key commitments in relation to the recruitment and retention of staff with disabilities.

Policies to support staff

There are a large number of Human Resources policies and procedures designed to support and protect staff. These include policies on Staffside recognition, flexible working, career breaks, job sharing, paternity and adoption leave, bullying and harassment, whistleblowing, etc.

Copies of individual policies can be obtained from the Publication Scheme Co-ordinator.

Improving Working Lives

The Trust is committed to ensuring staff can enjoy a positive balance between their work and private lives and actively supports the national Improving Working Lives (IWL) initiative. The Trust achieved Practice status following an IWL review in November 2002 and two of our staff services were awarded ‘gold star’ status. The Trust is pursuing a range of initiatives to gain Practice Plus status. The range of IWL initiatives within the Trust include flexible working options and a comprehensive childcare support service, which was runner up in the 2003 Health and Social Care Awards for Improving Working Lives.

The Trust has a multidisciplinary Improving Working Lives Group with members from across the Trust. The group works on a range of projects designed to improve the quality of working life for staff, including the development of an on-site cybercafé, staff surveys and Improving Working Lives Workshops.

The working patterns of all doctors-in-training comply with New Deal standards and the focus of the Workforce Transformation Team is now to implement the European Working Time Directive for all staff.

Communications to staff

The Trust is committed to ensuring staff have access both to timely, accurate and relevant communications and to channels of two-ways communications.

There are well-established mechanisms to support staff communications, including:

  • The Link – bi-monthly newspaper for Trust staff
  • Bulletin – weekly e-mail and printed bulletin for Trust staff
  • Intranet – with Trust-wide and department-specific information
  • Redevelopment Link – ad-hoc newsletter with information about the Trust new hospitals redevelopment programme
  • Partnership Board – a monthly meeting between representatives of management and staff to discuss staffing issues.
  • Trust Board meetings – many of the Trust Board meetings are held in public and staff are welcome to attend. 
  • Open staff meetings – open meetings for staff are held on a number of subjects
  • Team and departmental meetings – many teams, wards and departments hold regular team meetings and briefings
  • All staff are given a copy of the Policies and Guidelines Leaflet when they join the Trust.

Copies of Bulletin, The Link, Redevelopment Link and the Policies and Guidelines Leaflet are available from the Publication Scheme Co-ordinator.

Recruitment

The Trust has a centralised Recruitment Bureau to co-ordinate the recruitment of staff. The Trust’s recruitment strategy includes initiatives to recruit from the local community e.g. job fairs and schools liaison.

Job vacancies in the Trust are advertised on the Trust website, as are details about Volunteering and work experience opportunities.

Workforce Development

The Workforce and Strategy Directorate is part of the North East London Strategic Health Authority. It plans and develops the health and social care workforce needed to meet local priorities in north east London and the national targets in the NHS Plan. The Trust is a constituent member.

Paying staff

The operational aspects of paying Trust staff is managed by a shared payroll service – the North East London Pay Consortium. Almost all staff are eligible for and are members of the NHS Pensions Scheme, administered on behalf of all NHS bodies by the NHS Pensions Agency.

Training and development of staff

Barts and The London NHS Trust supports the principles of lifelong learning, and offers all its staff a wide range of training opportunities both to provide them with the skills they need to do their current jobs and to help them develop their careers. Individual annual appraisals give staff the chance to plan and progress their training and development as part of their personal development plan.

The Trust’s specialist in-house Training and Development Department runs a variety of courses. The Trust has strong links with Barts and The London Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry and with the St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery, City University to ensure that medical, dental and nursing staff receive the specialised training and support they need. The Trust has over 500 post-registration doctors in training and provides an increasing number of supervised nursing, midwifery and Allied Health Professional student placements.

Continued professional development is covered by the Trust’s Training and Development Policy and addresses members of all professions.

The Standing Committee on Education and Training co-ordinates training strategy from multiple sources to achieve integration.

Induction programme for new staff

There is a half-day multidisciplinary induction programme for all new staff. There is also a one-week nurse induction programme and a separate programme for doctors. These are complemented by local job inductions at ward/department level.