Thursday, 3 September 2009

Stripping and survivorship

I did a bit of paint stripping on Sunday.

I wore my old clothes and my Totector Pioneer steel toe cap shoes. I'd worn them before when I'd gone to do DIY including paint stripping.

They felt very soft and comfortable.

I used concentrated sodium hydroxide which I painted on and watched as 120 years worth of paint came off as a kind of goo - the consistency of half melted chocolate.

Very dangerous chocolate.

As I walked around the house, I found I was leaving black lumps behind.

I thought it was mud and dirt from when I last did the gardening and, when it was time to start packing up with one side of the door almost completely stripped, I cleaned up the 'soil'.

I sat down to do some sewing and when I got up found more black stuff under the chair.

I sat down and took one of the shoes off to see how dirty they really were when and that's when I realised that it was the soles of the shoes disintegrating.

The chemical paint stripper I used the last time has soaked into the shoes and reduced the thick cleated soles to the consistency of sponge cake. Great lumps of the cleated soles were flapping and falling off.

I had to throw the shoes away.

After 12 years.

It was a wrench.

I kept the shoelaces.

You know, just in case.

Dad's back in hospital. Getting more toes removed. Terrific. I'm visiting him this weekend.

I've been looking at the NHS website for jobs.

A recent report has suggested that approximately 10% of the workforce needs to be fired so that the NHS can come within budget.

May I make a suggestion?

Just a little one.

Stop advertising jobs like this........


POST TITLE: Administration Assistant – Survivorship Project

DIRECTORATE: Strategy and Redesign

LOCATION: Waterlinks House, Richard Street, Aston,
Birmingham, B7 4AA

ACCOUNTABLE TO: Locality Commissioning Director

GRADE: Band 4

SALARY RANGE: £17,732 - £21,318 per annum (pro rata for part time)

CONTRACT: 2 year fixed term contract

HOURS: 37.5 per week

The post holder will work closely with the Planned Care Team within the Strategy and
Redesign Directorate to provide full administrative support for the Survivorship

The PCT is a national test site working with NHS Improvement for the Survivorship
Project. The project aim being to improve support services for breast cancer patients
in the survivorship phase of their cancer journey. The post holder will be a key part of
the project team, providing administrative support to all the project groups and being
a central point of contact for the team.


 To provide clerical support to the Survivorship Project team.

 To take accurate minutes at key meetings including the Project Operational
Group, Project Board, Work stream Groups and ensure these are promptly
circulated to appropriate contacts.

 To provide data inputting support to project, accurately entering confidential
patient data and producing statistical reports as part of the project outcomes
and evaluation process.

 To maintain and update a patient database as part of the project.

 To arrange venues, refreshments and other arrangements for meetings.

 To undertake regular administrative tasks including photocopying and filing.

 Type letters, reports and other documents – using shorthand and/or
audiotape and written format.

 To support the project via the gateway process.

 Deal with incoming post and emails on a day-to-day basis including
confidential material, chasing progress and taking relevant action where

 Be the initial point of contact for personal or telephone callers to the office,
taking messages and redirecting calls as appropriate.

 To help produce and distribute communication items for the Project.

 Preparing and providing appropriate hospitality.

 Act as a key contact point for the project team providing proactive diary

 Liaise as required with managers within the Directorate, managers within the
trust, and other outside agencies.

 Develop and maintain a comprehensive, up to date and accurate filing system
whilst working towards a paperless office environment by developing and
maintaining a consistent policy on working more efficiently and smarter as an
organisation with respect to communications and record keeping.

 To arrange and co-ordinate meetings within the department – preparing and
distributing agendas and notes.

 Provide cover and support to other PAA staff within the department and other
directorates as required including occasional relief on reception, as agreed with
the post holder and Locality Commissioning Director.

 Ordering of stock and non stock items, dealing with delivery notes and
preparing of invoices for signature.

 To support team events, travelling throughout the NHS Birmingham East and
North area if necessary.

 To represent and promote the trust at all times and on all occasions.

 To undertake additional duties commensurate with the grade as agreed by
the Locality Commissioning Director.


The Trust is committed to supporting the development of all staff. All employees
have a responsibility to participate in regular appraisal with their manager and to
identify performance standards for the post. As part of the appraisal process
employees have a joint responsibility with their line manager to identify any learning
and development needs in order to meet the agreed performance standards.


All employees have a responsibility to participate in regular appraisal with their
manager and identify performance standards for the post. As part of the appraisal
process there is a joint manager staff responsibility to identify learning and
development needs to meet the performance standards required of the post holder.


Attention is drawn to the responsibility of all employees to take reasonable care for
the health and safety of themselves and other people who may be affected by their
actions at work.


The Trust both recognises and celebrates diversity. The Trust is committed to Equal
Opportunities in employment and seeks to eliminate unlawful racial, sexual or
disability discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and promote good
relations between staff and clients of differing groups.


NHS Birmingham East and North is committed to reducing Healthcare Associated
Infection. All employees are expected to abide by Infection Prevention and Control
policies relevant to their area of work, and undertake the necessary level of training.
This will be appraised through the KSF review process or other relevant professional
review process.


The Trust actively discourages smoking, and has banned it in all premises, grounds
and vehicles, owned or operated by them


Whilst the post holder will be based at one of the buildings managed by the Trust you
will be expected to travel within the Trust area and on occasions across Birmingham.
We reserve the right to move the location of this post to any centre currently
managed by this Organisation.


Your attention is drawn to the confidential nature of information collected within the
National Health Service.

The unauthorised use or disclosure of patient or other personal information is
regarded as gross misconduct and will be subject to the Trust’s Disciplinary
Procedure and could result in a prosecution of an offence or action for civil damages
under the Data Protection Act 1998.


This job description will be subject to discussion and review on an annual basis
within the appraisal process.

Post holders signature: ………………………………………………..

Date: ………………………………………………. .

NHS Birmingham East and North


JOB TITLE: Administrative Assistant



(Level of education, specific qualifications,
professionally qualified specialised training,
training requirements for the job)

 Good standard of general education (e.g. 5 GCSE
grades A-C including English) or equivalent

 RSA 2 word processing/typing or equivalent

 Competent in the use of Microsoft Office Applications
to ECDL standard

 Secretarial qualification

 Shorthand qualification

 Audio typing qualification

 Application form

 Interview

 References

 Certification

 Testing


(Length, type and level of work related

 Experience in an administrative/secretarial capacity

 Experience of accurately inputting data

 Experience in an NHS organisation

 Application form
 Interview

 References

 Certification

 Testing


(Range and level of skills, depth of knowledge
required for the job)

E.g. IT skills (word processing, spreadsheets,
databases), Communication skills (verbal, written,
presentations), Organisational skills, Analytical/
Problem solving skills, Physical skills.

 Excellent organisational and communication skills

 Ability to produce error free and well presented material
demonstrating a high level of accuracy

 Ability to work on own initiative demonstrating sound
judgement abilities

 Sound understanding of Microsoft Excel, Word and

 Excellent verbal and written communication skills

 Ability to maintain a good rapport with individuals

 Ability to speak in a clear and articulate manner

 Time management, work prioritisation and planning

 Personal integrity and ability to demonstrate complete

 Understanding of Internet Explorer and Intranet

 Application form

 Interview

 References

 Certification

 Testing


(Communication and interpersonal skills,
organisational skills, ability to work on own
initiative, to strict protocols/procedures and time
scale, motivation, disposition and flexibility)

 Flexible working approach – team player

 Genuine interest in communications and involvement

 Flexible working times (on occasions)

 Proactive

 Enthusiastic and positive

 Tactful and diplomatic

 Understanding of Patient and Public
Involvement and PALS

 Application form

 Interview

 References

 Certification

 Testing


(Physical/health requirements, specific
requirements e.g. ability to travel)

 Passed fit by Occupational Health Service

 Able to travel and attend events/meetings according to
operational needs of the post

 Car driver/owner with full current UK
driving licence

 Application form

 Interview

 References

 Certification

 Testing

 Cleared by Occupational

There is no way on earth that anyone would seriously tell a breast cancer sufferer in remission that he/she has entered the survivorship phase of their cancer journey. Would they?

And just what is a Locality Commisioning Director?

That's the best part of 18k pa for an Admin Assistant who can drive.

The tragic part is that someone will fire the Healthcare Assistants, Porters and Cleaners, sorry, Front of House Assistants so that Admin Assistants based in an office nowhere near a hospital and duplicating work done elsewhere can remain employed.

If I had the misfortune to suffer from cancer and was seriously told that I had entered the survivorship phase of my cancer journey I wouldn't know who to stop slapping first.

Good grief.