FDA questions whether Government will back rhetoric with resources in Department of Health front line experience plan

20 May 2013
(For immediate release) 
Responding to the Government proposal that senior civil servants in the Department of Health (DH) should spend 20 days a year working on the NHS front line, the FDA welcomed the development opportunity but questioned whether the initiative would be backed up by the necessary resources.

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said: “While we are not opposed to this proposal, we question where this additional working month each year per senior civil servant will come from. DH has already been cut by 15% and senior civil servants regularly work excess hours now, with around half of them working the equivalent of an extra day each week for free. Senior civil servants cannot simply absorb this sort of extra commitment.”

“If this initiative is about civil servants who are developing policy having a greater understanding of the NHS front line - rather than being a publicity stunt on the back of the Francis Inquiry - it is to be welcomed, but to be taken seriously it has to be backed up by resources.” 

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals. FDA membership includes more than 19,000 senior civil servants, government policy advisors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors, prosecutors and other professionals work across government and the NHS.

2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants’ union".  

3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at www.fda.org.uk.

4. For further information contact:

Dave Penman, FDA General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503827 .

Kay Hender, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5589 or 07980 700747 .