Hospital jobs shuffle: morale plummets

IPSWICH Hospital is paying agency staff to help clear the backlog of work caused by a controversial administration reshuffle, it emerged today.

IPSWICH Hospital is paying agency staff to help clear the backlog of work caused by a controversial administration reshuffle, it emerged today.

The move follows the re-grading of 95 of the hospital's 134 medical secretaries which has led to reports of post lying unopened, patient notes going missing and staff morale plummeting.

And, in what one union boss described as a “slap in the face”, there are claims some agency workers are earning a higher hourly rate than medical secretaries whose pay scales were downgraded. The hospital said its contract is with the agency and not the individual, so was unable to comment on any alleged pay differences.

The Evening Star understands that around ten Medi-Sec agency workers have been drafted in to help plug holes in the administration system.

Bob Cousins, joint union convenor for Ipswich Hospital, said: “Staff morale across the whole trust has been affected.

“There are people who have not been happy with having to reapply for their jobs and then their pay has been downgraded.

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“It's a slap in the face for staff.

“From the start, we pointed out that the quality of the service would be affected. Everyone is under review which takes people away from applying the service.

“I saw that the Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) have written to the hospital. It's nice of the PCT to show concern on behalf of the patients but it's a shame they did not show is the same level of concern when the hospital was fined for completing operations early. That money could have eased the problem.”

One hospital worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Staff have lost their job satisfaction and are looking at a decrease in wages. They are also working alongside agency staff who are getting more money without the responsibility.

“It has got to the point where medical secretaries are working for the trust part time and also for the agency.

“The consultants are unhappy about what's going on. It will take months to sort this out. Patients have been waiting three weeks for results when it should only take two or three days.”

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital management, said: “We have to look at how we can tackle these pressing issues in a way that offers the best value for money.

“We have to be in a position where there is no build up of work and no backlog.

“There has been a major change and it's been very unsettling. It's very early days but we hope as time goes on people will have job satisfaction and feel recognised.”

n Have you been affected by the reshuffle? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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