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08 August 2012

The Society of Radiographers has balloted its members at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust on strike action, regarding a new shift working system which was imposed in September 2011.

For around 18 months prior to the system’s introduction, the union and its members attempted to negotiate changes to the proposed system and expressed concerns about the ability of the staff to provide a service to patients under the proposals.

The Trust’s management refused to accept the staff’s concerns and proceeded to impose the new system of work. The SoR members declared that they would work the system ‘under protest’ pending further negotiations.

Under the new system, the department relies heavily on temporary agency staff to fill gaps in the rota and often areas are understaffed due to lack of available full time staff. The staff have also found their work life balance has diminished drastically due to an increased amount of enforced night and weekend working, leading to increasing levels of fatigue and sickness which could potentially impact on patient care.

Further attempts at negotiations have been unsuccessful and so, having exhausted all available options, the SoR has balloted its members on industrial action.

The result was an overwhelming 98% vote in support of strike action, from a turn-out of 85%. The proposed action will take place for a 24-hour period on Tuesday 14 August 2012.

Radiographers will still provide cover for emergency services within the Trust, including A&E, urgent ward patients and emergency and trauma theatre.  However, there will be no service to cover routine outpatient clinics, GP services or routine ward patients during this time. This will ensure that no emergency patients will have their care affected by the action.

It is hoped that an agreement will be reached quickly. However, the union members feel that they have no other option than to take this action.

The SoR is ready and willing to negotiate with the Trust management.

Notes for Editor

For more information contact Warren Town, the Society of Radiographers' director of industrial relations on 020 7740 7209 or 07850 839442, or Dominic Deeson on 01227 469060 or 0795 784 5238.

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