Medical secretaries in hospitals across the north east of England are gearing up for a fight over pay. The move follows the victory won by medical secretaries in Glasgow last year, when all-out strike action won a regrading and so higher pay. 'Medical secretaries are the hidden workers in the NHS,' explained Clare Williams, chair of health in the Unison union's northern region. 'They check records and send out appointments.
'It is very important and responsible work which is crucial to the functioning of the NHS. Yet they are low paid for this responsibility.' Two Unison branches in the northern region, which stretches from the Scottish border to Teesside and right across from Newcastle to Cumbria, have this week given notice of a ballot on action for the secretaries.
Other branches in the region are lining up to follow suit in a fight to win regrading. 'We had some strikers come down from Glasgow last year,' explained Clare. 'They really enthused people here, and the mood is very much for a campaign and action to win medical secretaries the pay they deserve.'