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Why is it difficult to get fired in the NHS?

85 replies

hawaypet · 19/10/2020 18:39

I've seen this on quite a few threads now, that it's really hard to lose your job in the NHS. But why? Assuming that you have been employed for less than two years, then they can dismiss you very easily, just as any other company can. So where has this idea come from and why?

OP posts:
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NerrSnerr · 19/10/2020 18:45

Each trust has a disciplinary policy and it's a lot of effort to enforce. If someone is a member of a governing body (like NMC, GMC etc) they also usually suspend until their investigations are done if it's been referred to a governing body so they end up suspended for many months.

I have worked in the NHS for about 20 years and seen lots of staff moved to other jobs when there have been allegations or if they're not good enough. In about 2004 one nurse got moved to the other side of the trust and given his E grade after it was alleged he punched a patient to move him out of the way.

I have known one HCA fired for drinking at work and one social worker fired for pretending she was at meetings when she was at home (she was suspended for about 6 months first).

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Pickypolly · 19/10/2020 18:51

People are moved on A LOT!

I’ve worked with absolute arse holes, out & out, in your face bullying behaviour & nothing happens.
I left a job naming the bully in my letter of resignation, there had been repeated complaints about that person from multiple staff over a couple of years and nothing. Absolutely nothing what’s been done.

I’ve worked with staff who are downright dangerous, followed all the correct procedures, documentation completed and they were moved as they had been to us.
It’s impossible.

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Fluffycloudland77 · 19/10/2020 19:02

Unison.

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triceratops12 · 19/10/2020 19:05

Firstly, if you're in the NHS the majority of people have worked there for over two years so I'd say 90% of your workforce has two year or more service.

They are very very protected by unions

The processes and hoops you jump through to get anything to go through HR means sometimes it's just not worth the effort, that's why you then get people moving.

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Mmn654123 · 19/10/2020 19:08

Nobody has the time or energy to complete the necessary paperwork......

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picosandsancerre · 19/10/2020 19:09

it is very difficult to sack people in the NHS.As others have said folks are moved around alot usually due to not having enough of a case to sack. So they move to a new manager with little info and start again. I have had staff redeployed to me who have been fantastic, however that is rare. Gross Misconduct is the only situation which could lead to dismissal or you can go down the sickness review process too. Most situations will state the person requires, training, supervision, appraisal, you name it something will be used to explain why this person wasnt supported in the work place. I have had folks accuse my of bullying when I have managed there performance at work. The NHS will only agree to sack if they know at a tribunal they will win as it can cost alot of money. Sadly most investigations are completed by folks with little experience and therefore holes can be found in there evidence

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EveryPlanetHasAYorkshire · 19/10/2020 19:15

Is it? I wasn't sacked but I was unwell and they told me to get better within three weeks or they would get rid of me. I wouldn't have been better in three weeks so I left. I thought it would look better than essentially being sacked.

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picosandsancerre · 19/10/2020 19:18

EveryPlanetHasAYorkshire sorry but unless your in the private sector there is no way that happened. The NHS have strict sickness procedures and policies. If you have over a certain time off you will go for a sickness review. If you had over three weeks it would trigger a sickness review. Obviously sickness over 7 days must be covered by a medical certificate. So someone telling you to get better or they would get rid of you is one thing, actually being able to 'sack' you is another.

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EveryPlanetHasAYorkshire · 19/10/2020 19:20

@picosandsancerre

EveryPlanetHasAYorkshire sorry but unless your in the private sector there is no way that happened. The NHS have strict sickness procedures and policies. If you have over a certain time off you will go for a sickness review. If you had over three weeks it would trigger a sickness review. Obviously sickness over 7 days must be covered by a medical certificate. So someone telling you to get better or they would get rid of you is one thing, actually being able to 'sack' you is another.

Yes it happened. Yes it was the NHS.
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FippertyGibbett · 19/10/2020 19:24

I’ve always thought that it’s to avoid being sued for wrongful dismissal and wasting NHS money 🤔

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HermioneWeasley · 19/10/2020 19:26

Same with teachers and most public sector to be honest.

There’s almost zero accountability and performance management.

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Smallsteps88 · 19/10/2020 19:28

Doesn’t fill a service user with confidence that there are so many useless, violent, incompetent people shuffling around the NHS.

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tempnamechange98765 · 19/10/2020 19:30

I think a lot of the public sector is like this, including civil service, teaching. I'm not going to say much because it's outing (and confidential) but I have known people to get away with poor performance for years and shambolic behaviour and get off very lightly!!

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Fluffycloudland77 · 19/10/2020 19:30

You forgot the alcoholics.

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Smallsteps88 · 19/10/2020 19:32

Oh yes, those too!

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OrangeSamphire · 19/10/2020 19:32

Unions, professional bodies, poor management and staffing issues keep many incompetent and uncaring NHS staff in roles.

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hopelesschildren · 19/10/2020 19:34

Interesting, a couple in our department have been dismissed, however both were within a few weeks of starting.

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NerrSnerr · 19/10/2020 19:36

I have noticed a big improvement with staff members and alcohol over the last 20 years though. Of course there will still be alcoholics but in some areas it used to be in the culture. I remember staff working long days in the early 2000s and would quickly drink 3 pints in their lunch break and go back to work. That wouldn't happen now, or if it did they wouldn't be so obvious about it.

When people are performing poorly there is often the culture of going off with stress (obviously many are genuinely off with stress). You hear a lot of threats 'if they make me do xyz I'm going to get signed off'.

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LashesZ · 19/10/2020 19:38

Unions and impossible policies. Managers shy away from the capability or disciplinary policy because you have to be shit hot on the fact finding, follow ups and adjustments to allow the employee to prove themselves. Honestly, it's a ball ache as a manager.

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Artus · 19/10/2020 19:48

Also as a previous poster says people go sick with "stress" at the first hint of any investigation into performance or behaviour, and can string this out for a very long time.

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Inthemuckheap · 19/10/2020 19:50

And of course suspensions are on full pay Hmm

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EmbarrassedUser · 19/10/2020 19:52

I can confirm that it’s REALLY hard to get fired from the NHS. I was a student for 3 years (AHP degree) and now worked there nearly 9 years. People have done really silly things and just got a slap on the wrist.

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Jent13c · 19/10/2020 20:40

Most people have been in the NHS their whole life and they don't have experience of how different it is to regular careers. I went from banking to NHS. At my corporate induction they discussed a platform used for appraisals and said that our trust had one of the best appraisal rates for staff in the country...26%. I was shocked. How can you possibly prove someone is not performing in their job if you are not annually appraising it?

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LoeliaPonsonby · 19/10/2020 20:50

The NHS is crap at HR. For competency related reasons, you would need documentations, appraisals that are actually carried out, knowledge that the supervisor has done everything by the book. Staff with line management responsibility are almost never given training so it’s impossible to tell if procedure has been followed. A stern look from a Union is enough to send most trusts running for cover because unless you’ve got someone literally killing people or blowing millions, it will be very difficult to produce evidence that procedure has been followed.

And then the person in question will go off sick.

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captainprincess · 19/10/2020 20:53

There was someone in my dept who got moved there because they needed to not be near patients as they had punched one! I mean, ridiculous. Not a nice person at all and we had to suffer the temper tantrums and occasional chair throwing....

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