Health staff anxious about jobs news

HEALTH workers in Suffolk are today on tenterhooks with fears growing by the hour that jobs may be cut to ease the multi-million pound debt crisis facing the NHS.

HEALTH workers in Suffolk are today on tenterhooks with fears growing by the hour that jobs may be cut to ease the multi-million pound debt crisis facing the NHS.

Union officials are bracing themselves for the worst and say members are very anxious, especially having seen thousands of their colleagues across the country made redundant.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has called an extraordinary board meeting this Friday to assess its finances - it is around £9 million in debt - and look at further savings.

No-one is yet saying this will mean job cuts, but redundancies have not been ruled out.

Ann Glover, UNISON representative at the hospital, said: “At this stage nothing has been ruled out, nothing has been ruled in.

“Obviously we are mindful of the situation in other trusts where there have been redundancies.

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“We don't know yet what will happen and we will have to wait and see, but staff in the NHS are anxious about the future. We know the financial problems and Ipswich Hospital Trust has got to make some difficult decisions.

“I would expect them to try whatever they can to make savings rather than have to make redundancies but I don't know how much scope they will have to work in.”

She said union officials had a regular meeting scheduled with management on May 2 and would expect to learn more details then.

Nationally, the union has been horrified at the crisis facing the NHS.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “We are being told that somehow jobs will disappear or be left unfilled without patients and staff feeling the pain - what utter nonsense.

“UNISON cannot stand by and watch staff suffer in this climate of fear. We will be supporting members who feel they have no option left other than industrial action to protect jobs and services.

“We will not stand by and watch our members made scapegoats for hospital debt. The Department of Health has been disingenuous about why, after so much investment, the NHS is now in financial difficulty. It's as if trusts have somehow frittered away all they have been given. The truth is so extraordinary it is hardly believable.”

With the Suffolk East PCTs tightening their purse strings and shifting to care in the community, with people spending less time in hospital, this is cutting the amount of money Ipswich Hospital is being paid - putting even more pressure on its budget.

WEBLINKS: www.ipswichhospital.org.uk

www.unison.org.uk

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