Union anger at NHS jobs threat

Clinical Commissioning Group's consultation exercise into the future of health services in the Morecambe Bay area. Chair Dr Alex Gaw in conversation with Simon Rudd from Morecambe.
Clinical Commissioning Group's consultation exercise into the future of health services in the Morecambe Bay area. Chair Dr Alex Gaw in conversation with Simon Rudd from Morecambe.
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The Royal College of Nursing has reacted angrily to Morecambe Bay NHS Trust’s indications that it may have to cut jobs to balance its books.

Last week, the trust said it could not rule out job losses for some of its 4,894 staff as it looks to make £30m of savings by April 2014.

Kirk Panter, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) steward and staff side chair at UHMBT said:

“This is very bad news and the RCN is extremely worried about the impact on patients and staff right across the trust.

“Already the three hospitals are struggling to cope with fewer resources, an ageing population and rising demand. It is impossible to see how the trust could cut £30m from its budget without directly affecting patient care and stripping out jobs. This will add even more pressure to overstretched staff, who have genuine fears for the future of patient safety and quality of care”.

Mr Panter also said that staff felt “incensed” that the NHS was throwing away money on “top-down reform”, employing expensive consultants and re-engaging senior executives, when UHMBT faced severe cutbacks.

He also said that staff morale was at “rock bottom”.

During 2012/13, the Trust said it expected to spend £2.66m on directors’ and senior managers’ salaries, against £124m on clinical staff, and £21.5m on other specialist areas. It has also spent £282,000 on redundancy for senior managers in 2012/13.

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Morecambe, said that the problem of senior managers retiring on very well paid pensions and re-appearing as consultants somewhere else in the NHS was an “endemic problem”.

He added: “Jeremy Hunt has said we need to have the ability to get more administrators in from outside the trusts. Specifically with Morecambe Bay, they’re spending nearly £1m a month on temporary staff. A bit more long term full time staff employment could save us a lot of money in the long run.”

Jackie Daniel, chief executive of UHMBT said that patient safety was the trust’s number one 
priority.

She added: “We have made significant progress in the last 12 months. Part of these improvements included establishing a brand new management and leadership structure for the Trust – from a new Trust Board, to putting clinicians in charge of our divisions, meaning doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are now in charge with support from managers, not the other way around. We believe that giving clinicians a much bigger role will help to achieve effective, sustainable change at a faster pace.

“However, there is still a lot of work to do and we’ll continue to work with staff, patients, their families, and the public to ensure we have safe, high quality services now, and well into the future.”