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HFRS support terminally ill employees

24 January 2019

GMB SUPPORT Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service’s (HFRS) decision to sign up to the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign. This campaign was set up by the GMB and later adopted by the TUC and is a promise from employers to ensure job security and provide support such as counselling and financial advice to those employees affected by terminal illness.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have signed up to the charter, thus making a pledge to provide help and support to firefighters and staff who are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

It also ensures training to line managers and human resources staff on dealing with terminal illness including how to discuss future plans and make adaptations to an individual's role as necessary.  The Service has also arranged additional training from MacMillan Cancer Support.

Dawn Buchanan, whose late husband Gary died of cancer in November 2017 after 21 years as a firefighter, attended the signing and said, "The support Gary and I received from the fire service was incredible.

"When a person gets the tragic news that they have a terminal illness issues of financial security and that of your loved ones can be extremely stressful.

"The commitments laid out in this charter remove that burden of worry and provide reassurance for anyone who finds themselves in that position."

The bespoke copy of the charter was created after discussions with trade unions and representative bodies.

Neil Odin, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service CFO said, "This is about doing the right thing. As an organisation we pride ourselves on looking after our staff – especially in their times of greatest need.

"By signing this charter we hope to reassure staff of the commitment and support we will offer should they suffer from a terminal illness.

"We are proud to sign up to this important charter."

Chris Carter, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority chairman said, "Our people make the organisation what it is – one of the best fire and rescue services in the country.

"I am often humbled by the dedication and extra mile efforts that our teams go to to keep the people of Hampshire safe.

"It is only right that when people who save lives need help themselves that it is forthcoming and unwavering."

Branch secretary for GMB Barry Beaven who also signed the charter said, "Although this is a case of ‘hope for the best, plan for the worst’, this demonstrates that Unions can work together with employers to benefit and support members and their families in times of crisis and loss.

"The policy needs to follow the TUC lead and be further developed across all major employers in the country to allow as painless a transition through difficult times as possible."