UNISON lone worker grievance upheld

The collective grievance from north Norfolk over enforced lone working has been upheld.

The outcome means that the new policy put forwards by UNISON last year has been adopted in full; the new policy went live on the Trust website today:

The policy is based on the West Midlands lone worker policy and also incorporates learning from:

  • staff feedback and concerns raised by new staff over enforced lone working.
  • dignity at work complaints where managers have been unsupportive.
  • exit interviews where staff cited enforced lone working.
  • x3 historical collective grievances over enforced lone working – B&H, Cambs, and Norfolk.
  • B&H SOG 2.4
  • OI-142
  • Essex OP/017 from 2005.
  • UNISON Put back the heart survey.

The new policy states:

7.6 Staff who find themselves working alone but are not normally employed to do so:

7.6.1 It is important to recognise that not all staff are comfortable working alone and therefore all steps must be made to ensure in such circumstances staff are supported accordingly.  

7.6.2 Where a member of staff finds they are working alone, for example, where a crew member commences duty to find they are solo crewed, they will immediately ensure that EOC (or line manager in the case of non operational staff) are aware. 

7.6.3 A&E staff that do not normally work alone have the right to decline to do so. Discussions between the lone worker, the EOC and local management teams will always bring about a satisfactory conclusion. Where staff have declined to work alone they may either: 

  • Crew with another suitably skilled lone worker who is also solo. 
  • Be crewed on an alternative vehicle where the crew on that vehicle are happy to be separated, and one member  will operate as a lone worker. 
  • Be crewed on an Ambulance with a Solo Responder. This will be undertaken with mutual agreement between all parties. 
  • Undertake 3rd manning with another crew at the discretion of the Senior Manager or Duty Manager on call for each locality. 

7.7  It is accepted that public perception where an emergency ambulance vehicle arrives at the scene of an incident could be that the responder should be able to convey the patient. Where a crew member finds themselves single crewed and are happy to operate as a lone worker but not utilising an Emergency Ambulance Vehicle EOC / Operational Managers will identify a response car for the member of staff to use.

The joint chairs of SPF will review any concerns after 3 months – and any future policy changes will be negotiated in the normal way through the Trust’s policy group.

I’m very grateful to the norfolk staff who stood their ground over this issue and for the panel who reached a fair and supportive decision.

If you have been affected by lone worker issues, please contact your local UNISON representative for support.

Kind regards,


Fraer Stevenson UNISON Branch Secretary

Branch Elections


Every year your UNISON Branch holds an annual general meeting (AGM). As well as being an opportunity for members to come and meet their Branch committee, we also approve and vote on any rule changes, review the Branch over the past year and elect your Branch Officers for the year ahead. 


The next AGM is set for 24th February 2016, venue to be confirmed. 


The nomination period for officer elections is set in our Branch rules and opens on 1st December 2015. You can download a nomination form by clicking on this link.


Nominations need to be received by 6th January 2016.

At this time of the year, as well as looking forwards to 2016, we review our work as a Branch over the past AGM year.


UNISONthe public service union

Ambulance emergency

UNISON is preparing a national campaign to highlight the impact that the increases to retirement age and recruitment and retention will have on the ambulance service, staff and patients who use it.

Please share your views and experiences to help us to make the case for ambulance staff by filling in this short survey:


You can read more about this campaign here:

The trust recently placed an advert on NHS jobs for band 3 'support workers (ECAs),’ to work on emergency ambulances across the region. The advert stated the trust would close the application process when they reached 300 applicants.

Following a meeting with the Deputy Chief Executive and the HR Director this week, the advert was withdrawn and the trust has made a commitment, in the spirit of partnership working, to change this recruitment to band 4 Student Technicians (nationally these roles are known as Associate Ambulance Practitioners).

Alongside the student EMT (Associate Ambulance Practitioners) pathway we understand the trust will continue to recruit and train student Paramedics, as well as recruiting direct entry EMTs, Paramedics and ECPs/CCPs.

We are also asking the trust to look at the development of our existing staff as a priority and to better support our HCRT staff, who raised concerns with us about the advert.

Kind regards,

Fraer Stevenson
UNISON Branch Secretary


The CQC is visiting our Trust for a comprehensive planned inspection the week commencing 4th April. 


Inspectors are running pre inspection focus groups the week commencing 14th March.

Last week senior staffside received an email from Robert Morton, CEO, inviting us to a meeting to inform us about a range of actions the Executive team have considered necessary for patient safety.

The actions were described by Robert Morton in his email as ‘measures that may be viewed as controversial, unpalatable and even draconian.’