Hospital worker tells why she had to go

AN experienced medical secretary who quit after the controversial changes to jobs at Ipswich Hospital has today told why she felt she had to leave.Shelia Stanley, who worked in hospitals for 22 years, most of them as a medical secretary, said she came to her decision following the re-grading of medical secretaries in the hospital.

AN experienced medical secretary who quit after the controversial changes to jobs at Ipswich Hospital has today told why she felt she had to leave.

Shelia Stanley, who worked in hospitals for 22 years, most of them as a medical secretary, said she came to her decision following the re-grading of medical secretaries in the hospital.

The changes, designed to save the cash-strapped hospital £700,000 between September 2006 and September 2007, have left morale at rock-bottom according to many whistleblowers, and GPs are concerned resulting build-ups of letters may be putting patient care at risk.

Mrs Stanley, of Brookhill Way, Rushmere St Andrew, said: “I resigned from my post as a medical secretary as I was not prepared to go through the procedure of re-organisation.

“With my experience and skills obtained over many years I was not prepared to go through a humiliating in-tray exercise and formal interview in order to retain my grading within the structure of the NHS.

“It was inevitable that there would be chaos if the hospital interfered with the good work achieved by its medical secretaries in order to cut costs.”

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Mrs Stanley, 65, who worked in the medical directorate at the hospital, said many of her friends who still worked as medical secretaries at the hospital were struggling with the new system and unhappy in their jobs.

She added: “Everyone was surprised at the changes. We weren't consulted; all we were told was that was what was going to happen.

“Many departments, particularly those within the medical directorate, have overwhelming workloads to deal with and to cut and redeploy staff has only resulted in those left having an even greater burden of work.

“Over recent years more consultants and specialist registrars have been employed at Ipswich Hospital, hence the volume of work expected of the secretaries has increased dramatically. In some areas only those with great experience have been able to cope.

“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.

The hospital's response

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital management, said 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.

She added: “We do appreciate this has been a very tough year for all staff at the hospital and we especially appreciate the very professional work of all support staff; medical secretaries and administrative support staff.

“All changes can be very unsettling in what has been a gruelling year.

“The changes however are being introduced to tackle some of the very issues highlighted by this former staff member, moving away from all of the responsibility resting on an individual basis to a team based approach.”

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