Hospital job cuts horror

STAFF at Newham General Hospital in Plaistow got the worst possible Christmas present – redundancy notices.

STAFF at Newham General Hospital in Plaistow got the worst possible Christmas present – redundancy notices.

Notices were issued to 220 staff just a few days before the four-day holiday warning them they were “at risk of redundancy.”

Newham University Hospital NHS Trust said they had no choice over the timing because they have a legal responsibility to staff.

The move is part of the “transformation change programme” which was launched “in light of financial pressures.”

This will create around 140 new roles, meaning the job loss total will be about 80.

The Trust statement said: “The programme is set to help the hospital face the challenges ahead under the new Coalition Government. A huge amount of work involving many staff across the Trust, has gone into identifying where efficiencies can be made through a Quality, Safety and Efficiency (QSE) Work Programme.

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“A very wide range of the Trust’s functions have been reviewed in a number of workstreams. To achieve a Trust that works efficiently as possible, while putting patient care, safety and service quality at its heart, and meeting its statutory financial obligations in times of great financial difficulty nationwide, is a requirement of all NHS Trusts.

“Change is absolutely necessary to the way we work and impacts not only on frontline staff, but on the entire organisation. Posts have now been reviewed across the organisation and a new workforce structure has been proposed which will affect mainly administrative, clerical and management posts. A Trust wide Consultation Paper informing staff of the proposals was published in August. The final structures have now been circulated to staff .”

The Trust said appropriate support will be given to staff, in terms of achieving the necessary change in the safest and least disruptive way possible, while promoting at all times the quality of care we give to our patients. Trade Union Representatives and the HR Team are committed to ensuring the correct level of support is available to those who need it.”

Michaela Morris, the Trust’s interim Chief Executive told us: “The number of staff affected by the Transformation programme is approximately 220. This number includes those with a potential change to their job roles within the Trust and will see some roles needing to be disestablished and re-established with a different focus.

“The number of new roles created is approximately 140. There is an impact on all Admininstrative & Clerical (A & C) and Management staff across the Trust, with the greatest change being seen in Corporate areas which will now be aligned much closer to the operational areas. No Doctors or Nursing roles have been placed ‘at risk’ of redundancy in this Consultation.”

She said: “The Trust believes that the actual number of redundancies will be significantly less than the 100 predicted in August. This reduction has been achieved by the freezing of vacancies, natural attrition, and the London wide Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme (MARS) programme.

“The Trust will be creating new Administrative roles called Patient Pathway Co-ordinators who will manage the whole patient journey improving accountability and removing unnecessary bureaucracy for patients.

The Trust employed Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) as Advisors in supporting the establishment of the entire improvement plan that identified the potential for efficiencies in the region of �20 Million. The Trust expects to deliver around �14 Million of these improvements, of which the Transformation programme represents �5 Million. The total cost to the Trust for this advice and support in 2010/11 is in the region of �650,000.

Ms Morris added: “The Trust is forecasting a deficit in 2009/10 in the region of �6 Million. This is dependent on a number of outstanding issues that are still to be resolved before financial year end.

The majority of the staff placed at risk will not lose their jobs. The Trust is moving into a period of Individual Consultation where we will explore with staff opportunities to avoid redundancy.

“The Trust has taken the decision to try and give as much certainty as possible to staff affected. Staff have been put at risk of redundancy to carry out the HR processes of ‘slotting in staff’ or selecting them into roles to allow the Transformation programme to continue.”