Hospital boss admits mistakes were made
IPSWICH Hospital's top boss today confessed to mistakes in the ongoing medical secretaries' row.In an exclusive interview with the Evening Star, chief executive Andrew Reed said: “I accept we cut back too far too soon”.
IPSWICH Hospital's top boss today confessed to mistakes in the ongoing medical secretaries' row.
In an exclusive interview with the Evening Star, chief executive Andrew Reed said: “I accept we cut back too far too soon”.
He also revealed a recent recruitment drive was a back track after realising the secretaries reshuffle left them short staffed.
However the admission was branded as coming far too late by an experienced medical secretary who quit because of the controversial changes.
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The reshuffle hit the headlines last month after complaints from whistle blowing staff.
It was claimed it led to GPs' and patients' correspondence falling behind, notes going missing and staff morale hitting rock bottom.
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The Heath Road hospital said the reorganisation would save £700,000 between September last year and September this year, partly by getting secretaries to work in teams rather than on a one-on-one basis with doctors.
Today Mr Reed said he was pleased with the financial progress the hospital has made since last year's “financial meltdown” because of the changes but that the hospital was listening to staff for the future.
The hospital made a £1million surplus between April 2006 and March this year - and £13m improvement on the previous year's books.
He said: “We are in a very different place to where we were last year and the next step is moving on.
“Some of the recovery plan saw us resort to pretty draconian methods - with the loss of nurse specialist posts, bed losses and medical secretaries, which didn't go down so well.
“We had to do big things quickly, and you are bound to have hits and misses.
“But we have listened to the concerns of staff, doctors, the secretaries and GPs and we are now in the process of revisiting the medical secretaries plan.
“We accept we cut back too far too soon in some areas, and now we are reinstating some of those posts.”
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Shelia Stanley had worked in hospitals for 22 years, most of them as a medical secretary, before she quit her post because of the controversial changes.
Today Mrs Stanley, of Brookhill Way, Rushmere St Andrew, said she was pleased at Mr Reed's announcement but said it had come far too late.
The 65-year-old added she was still to be convinced that Ipswich Hospital had actually learned the lessons from the furore.
She said: “I'm very pleased he's admitted they're in a mess, a complete and utter mess. Morale is terrible, people are not able to cope and going off work with stress.
“I think it's going to be a long time before they get over it, this is the first step.
“People will be happy to hear they've realised their mistake.
“I'm glad that he's listened, it's a pity he didn't listen in the first place.
“They should have consulted staff there in the first place. They were in too much of a hurry to save money - it was purely a cost cutting exercise.”
Hilary Cole took early retirement from Ipswich Hospital following the reshuffle, after 38 years of service.
She said Mr Reed's announcement is too late as the hospital has already lost experienced and loyal staff.
She said: “The reshuffle put a lot of people through a lot of stress and experienced staff have left.
“There's no way what they are saying now would tempt me to go back.
“What strikes me is all the money that's been wasted on an exercise which hasn't achieved anything.
“I've never known the hospital to apologise and backtrack in such a way though.”
Mrs Cole, 58, of Valley Road, Ipswich, was formerly a grade four, but was instructed to move to the child health department and was made a grade three.