Hospital needs more medical secretaries

IPSWICH Hospital is recruiting new medical secretaries today after a recent overhaul resulted in experienced secretaries leaving their posts.As revealed previously in The Evening Star, the re-grading and re-structuring, designed to save £700,000 between September last year and September this year, left morale at rock-bottom according to many whistleblowers, and GPs were concerned resulting build-ups of letters going unopened may have put patients at risk.

IPSWICH Hospital is recruiting new medical secretaries today after a recent overhaul resulted in experienced secretaries leaving their posts.

As revealed previously in The Evening Star, the re-grading and re-structuring, designed to save £700,000 between September last year and September this year, left morale at rock-bottom according to many whistleblowers, and GPs were concerned resulting build-ups of letters going unopened may have put patients at risk.

Now the hospital is hunting for people to fill the roles of secretaries who quit, and is looking for more staff than it has vacancies, because of a predicted future need.

Medical secretary roles at both band three and four are being advertised in urology, vascular surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, women's services and oncology with salaries of between £14,037 and £19,730.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital management, said: “We all accept that in any large organisation there is always a turnover of staff; we're very lucky that it is a low number here.

“In this particular instance some of the existing members of staff decided to retire or to leave.

Most Read

“So we did have some vacancies but we held them until the review was complete to protect the existing workforce.

“We are looking at whether in some directorates the new staffing structure is actually strong enough to cope with the amount of work.

“But at the moment the jobs that are being advertised are existing jobs.”

As of April 16 four medical secretaries had resigned from their posts and two had asked for voluntary redundancy during the re-grading of the posts.

One of the secretaries who resigned was Shelia Stanley who worked in hospitals for 22 years, most of them as a medical secretary.

After handing in her resignation Mrs Stanley, of Brookhill Way, Rushmere St Andrew, told The Evening Star: “I resigned from my post as a medical secretary as I was not prepared to go through the procedure of re-organisation.

“What a shame it is that when experienced secretaries are really needed they are being driven out of the workplace.”

n Have you resigned from Ipswich Hospital because of the re-grading of medical secretaries? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

DISGRUNTLED Hilary Cole took early retirement from Ipswich Hospital following the reshuffle, after 38 years of loyal service.

The 58-year-old was aiming to work until 60, giving 40 years in the oncology department, but walked out in anger after she was made to move department and downgraded.

Mrs Cole, 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.

Ipswich Hospital formerly denied downgrading staff but today admitted some staff had been put down a band. It said it was semantics.

Mrs Cole, who worked part-time, said her salary was protected for three years because she had worked for the NHS for more than five years. She said if it it wasn't protected, it would have gone down by around £2,000 a year.

She said: “I worked in child health for four days but felt like I didn't belong. I thought 'why should I have to move after 38 years of loyal service?'

“I was very demoralised. I wanted 40 years in the department and was sorry to leave.

“Being told I would be re-interviewed was horrible as I hadn't had one for 38 years.

“We were told in October but it didn't all happen until February which means I had months of worry.

“Then I was asked to work in a pool of secretaries, rather than on a one-to-one basis with a consultant.

“In different departments there is different terminology, drugs and treatments to get used to.

“Of course, it's the poor patients which are suffering more than anyone.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter