When people think of NHS staff, who do they see? Probably doctors, nurses and paramedics. But almost half the staff in the NHS (around 470,000 people) are in clinical support or infrastructure support jobs, which includes many NHS managers. These people are often unseen by patients, but they play a vital role in keeping our NHS running, making sure patients and their families get the best treatment possible.
One Team Week is our celebration of NHS support staff, particularly those working in operational services. UNISON and MiP organise One Team Week each year to give the porters, cleaners, admin and clerical staff, catering staff and managers, who work tirelessly in the NHS, some of the recognition they deserve.
One Team Week will take place from 5-9 November and there are many ways for you to take part. You can provide a stall in your organisation where support staff can talk about how they make a difference to patients and support colleagues in their jobs or give support staff badges which encourage other staff and patients to ask them about their jobs. You can publish a story on your workplace website or in your staff newsletter about support staff, or alert your local newspaper to One Team Week and invite them to interview support staff about their jobs.
Other ideas for activities to raise the profile of NHS support staff include issuing a joint invitation from MiP, UNISON and your employer asking to your local MP and councillors to visit your workplace and meet NHS support staff, and asking your employer to organise a coffee morning or awards ceremony for support staff.
There are lots of resources to help branches organising events; some are available from UNISON’s online catalogue, and some of the material is free.