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HCA Band 2 GMB Consultation Ballot

Consultation Ballot – GMB Union Statement

Page updated Thursday 18th April 2024

Due to the continued failure of UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS PLYMOUTH NHS TRUST (UHPT) to work in partnership with the GMB Union and other Trade Unions to try and resolve the Health Care Support Workers (HCSW) Health Care Assistant (HCA) Band 2 Uplift dispute, the GMB Union at Derriford Hospital UHPT will invite our HCSW, HCA, ICA members to participate in a workplace consultation ballot.

The GMB Consultative ballot will go live on Monday 22nd April and will remain open for at least 14 days until Sunday 5th May 2024.

The GMB Union will have a stall on Derriford Site for all GMB Members on Monday 27th April to address questions about the ongoing HCA Dispute and the Consultative Ballot.

The venue of the stall is at Derriford Hospital, Main Entrance on level 6.

(Time to follow shortly).


GMB members please ensure that we have your correct personal and work details. This enables us to communicate with you when required. If we do not hold correct work and contact details for you then you risk not getting updates and consultative ballot information.

You can change personal or work details by logging onto the GMB Union website (top right corner of main page), contact your local GMB Union Rep 01752 439274 (ext. 39274), contact the GMB Plymouth Office 01752 660219


Before any industrial action or other significant trade union ballot, such as a strike ballot, an indicative or consultation ballot may be undertaken to gauge member interest in the topic concerned. Indicative or consultative ballots are undertaken as a formal ballot is costly, due to being covered by legislation which forces a trade union to use a postal paper ballot or workplace ballot.

The result of the consultation ballot (which is not legally binding) gives the Trade Union an indication if any formal ballot process is required, saving both time and money if not.

As there is no legislation prescribing the method in which the ballot is undertaken, the most cost-effective and quickest option for a trade union is 100% digital processes using secure, online voting. In most cases, it has also been proven to increase voter turnout when internet voting is utilised.


Joint Trade Union message to all Band 2 Health Care Support Workers (HCA Band 2) – Important update regarding HCA B2 uplift

At the end of March 2024 some of you will have received a letter from UHP about re-banding, some letters stating that you will remain at band 2, others that you will be uplifted. We are aware some have not received any communications.

If you have not received any letter please speak with your line manager and then email your line manager with the message that you consider yourself to be in scope but have not received any letter/email notification.

If you are a GMB Union member also please copy us into any email trails related to the Band 2 uplift. We will make contact with you as soon as possible.

We write to assure you that we, that is all trade unions, have been working hard to resolve this issue – this issue was first raised in 2019 – but the Trust continue to refuse to work in partnership, within trust policy, to ensure that staff are being paid fairly for the work they are expected to undertake.

We have this week again asked that the trust desist from any further actions and meet with us with a commitment to:

1. Uplift all patient facing HCA Band 2 staff to band 3 – (To the top of Band 3 if you have more than two years substantive service as an HCA B2).

2. Provide a development plan for any staff with less that than 2 years service.

3. Fair and reasonable back pay.

We assure you that we are doing everything we can to resolve this issue for all band 2 staff and in the meantime that you do not agree to any changes to your pay, terms and conditions without seeking advice and support from you Trade Union.


IMPORTANT Note – Some other areas which employ staff in jobs such as Imaging and Infection control who employ Health Care Support Workers (HCSW) are beginning to discuss the uplifting of their Band 2 staff. This is not a bad thing at all however, TU members should take advice from  the GMB Union before accepting new JDs.


The GMB Union can assure you that we are doing everything we can to resolve this issue for all band 2 staff and in the meantime that you do not agree to any changes to your terms and conditions without seeking support from your trade union.

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPT) employs over 900 Health Care Support Workers / Health Care Assistants at Derriford Hospital and Mount Gould Hospital (Wards), on many wards and departments, delivering vital health care support services to patients.

The role of and HCA has evolved considerably over the years and this has happened without any recognition or fair pay; leaving HCAs feeling undervalued in their role, with over 80% of UHPT HCAs carrying out duties deserving of a higher pay grade (Band 3). Over 400 HCAs employed by UHPT should have been receiving Band 3 pay many years ago.

For example,

HCA Band 2 would undertake personal care such as feeding, bathing, toileting, recording fluids balance and nutrition.

HCA Band 3 would undertake monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure, bloods and wound observations.

You deserve respect, recognition and fair pay for the job.

You deserve consolidated back pay from 2019 to the current date.

You deserve to be uplifted to the top of Band 3 (if employed for more than the 2 years).

The GMB Union (GMB), and the Joint Trade Unions (JTUs) at Derriford Hospital are not in agreement with the content of the letter you have received from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPT) on Tuesday 26th March 2024. JTUs also oppose the imposition of the uplift. Joint Trade Unions remain in formal dispute with UHPT regarding the length of back pay. We also consider it fair that all those HCAs who qualify with length of service are uplifted to the top of Band 3. (Spine point 3).

Copy of UHPT Letter

GMB and the JTUs have made it clear to UHPT that we would expect that any communication with you which relates to pay, terms and conditions, must include all necessary financial data. This meaning the inclusion of electronic links to the NHS Employers guidance (issued over 30 months ago in August 2021). Information regarding Band 2 scoping exercise (completed over 18 months ago in September 2022 and which is now out of date). Information of any possible detrimental financial implications. This letter clearly does not give you that necessary detail.

You are strongly advised to seek advice from your Trade Union before responding to the letter or agreeing to any changes to your Job Description or Terms and Conditions

For some HCA Band 2 members, imposing this re-evaluation may have a significant financial impact. UHPT have asked you to make a very important decision without giving you adequate, up to date information.

GMB in partnership with JTUs submitted a formal dispute to UHP in October 2023. (Almost seven months ago) however, despite our continued efforts, the formal grievance failed to achieve any acceptable solution and as a result, the grievance has now progressed to the formal appeal stage. Whilst we continue to wait for a hearing date for that appeal the we feel that UHPT should follow its own policy and not impose any change until the appeal process is concluded.

We are clear that the current impasse is entirely due to the Trust working outside of their own Grievance policy without any partnership working with any of the recognised Trade Unions.

UHPT were informed in 2019 that this HCA review was in progress and that they should perhaps prepare for the financial and operational impact. Until September 2022, UHPT offered no meaningful consultation. The GMB & Joint Trade Unions made many attempts to commence meaningful consultation and negotiations but over the past three years UHPT have dragged their heels and have not worked in partnership with Trade Unions.

Trade Unions will continue to represent our members best interests and try very hard to ensure that our members are respected, paid, and rewarded for the vital work that they have always done and continue to do in the NHS Health Care Support Worker roles (HCSW).

Advice and Options you should note and consider.

Backpay is a term for wages owed for work done in the past that has been withheld from the employers pay, payments not made at the time work was performed (at Band 3).

Backpay should include owed overtime pay, enhanced hours pay and NHS pension contributions (if applicable).

Note that all Gross pay is taxable at the rates applicable to the employee.

Note that back pay which is replaced by a non consolidated lump sum does not include any wages owed. It is simply a compensatory pro rata payment offered to all those who qualify.

Large payments may impact means tested social benefits. You should discuss any concerns about this impact with an independent financial advisor and with your social security contact.

Non Consolidated pro rata payment (Lump sum bonus). This payment will be liable for tax applicable to the individual.

We will advise you of all of the options / actions which are available to you.

We would emphasise that Trade Unions remain in dispute with UHP. (Derriford Hospital).
This is is a Joint Trade Union dispute and all recognised Trade Unions at Derriford Hospital (UHP) have agreed the key demands and we are all in agreement about what our HCA2 members deserve. Joint Trade Unions will continue to fight to get what our members deserve. At Derriford Hospital this will be achieved jointly.
Be Stronger together!

* When you joined the GMB Union and if you opted out of being contacted by text, SMS or email you will not receive any specific or general communications via electronic means.


If you would like us to send you electronic updates and news? please change your contact preferences, otherwise please continue to monitor this website or contact your GMB Rep.


HCA Band 2 would undertake personal care such as feeding, bathing, toileting, recording fluids balance and nutrition.

HCA Band 3 would undertake Monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure, bloods, wound observations during analysis.

Information Link 1

Information Link 2

There will be very few HCA’s employed by UHP who have not undertaken the Care Certificate or additional clinical observations/skills training over the past four years. This should be evidenced either digitally on ESR or as a paper copy in their personal file held by their department/ward manager.

  • These are not just blood pressure, pulse and temperature but must include skills such as venepuncture, visual acuity, neurological observations, blood glucose monitoring, pregnancy testing, routine maternal and neonatal observations, observing patients for signs of agitation or distress, wound observations and simple wound dressings, removal of peripheral cannula, urinalysis, removal of catheter.


  • Trade Unions do not believe that within the HCSW workforce at UHP that there will many, if any, that do not undertake some clinical observation and therefore recommend that your previous data is stringently reviewed before sending any communication to HCSW about their position being upgraded to a band 3 or remaining at a band 2. The influx of appeals would be large and may well cause distress and animosity within their teams which in turn may cause patient care to suffer.


  • Guidance was provided to UHPT by NHS Employers in August 202133 months ago! clarifying the review and the key differences between an HCA Band 2 and the HCA Band 3 job profiles. This guidance lists different initiatives and programmes of work that have impacted on the roles of the HCSW CSW-employer-guidance.pdf (


  • As far as we are aware, UHP did not commence any work streams to comply with this guidance until at least September 2022. – 21 months ago!


  • UHP have indicated that they are not currently prepared to uplift longer serving HCA Band 2 employees to the top of Band 3. There are over 400 HCA Band 2 employees who have been identified as having over 2 years service as an HCA. GMB feels that those members deserve to be uplifted to the top of Band 3.



  • Trade Unions have demanded consolidated back pay from 2019 – current date – to include enhancements hours, corrected overtime payments and NHS Pension contributions (if applicable).


  • Revised Job Descriptions for the HCA B2 and B3 were eventually completed in January 2024. (30 months after the NHS Employers guidance was issued).
  • Note that changes to your Job Descriptions are made by agreement with the employee.

To ensure that you receive regular updates, please keep the GMB Union updated with your personal and work details.

* If you opted out of text, SMS, email communication when you joined the GMB Union you will not receive general communication by these electronic means. Please change your preferences if you would like us to send you electronic updates and news. If not, please monitor these website pages for any updates.

If you have any questions please contact;   or 

Other local GMB Reps are contactable in different areas of the hospital and they will be able to give you factual updates on the HCA Band 2 situation at UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS PLYMOUTH NHS TRUST (Derriford).