Outside firm to staff hospital reception

IPSWICH Hospital has changed the way its South Wards reception is staffed, in its latest attempt to cut costs.

IPSWICH Hospital has changed the way its South Wards reception is staffed, in its latest attempt to cut costs.

Staff who managed the front reception desk at the Heath Road hospital have been redeployed and an outside company brought in to provide staff to man the desk.

Facilities support service provider OCS already provides catering, cleaning, housekeeping, porters, transport, security and mail room services for the hospital.

The change marks the second round of staff job swaps since the hospital announced plans to make savings.

In December, 16 specialist nurse jobs were lost, but the nurses were kept on elsewhere in the hospital.

It had been announced that more than 30 nurses were to be axed but, following The Evening Star's Save our Angels campaign, no one was made redundant.

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Hospital spokeswoman Jan Roswell said the OCS team, which took over the reception work on Monday, will be working alongside volunteers to run the desk and welcome service.

She said: “As part of our financial recovery and control plan we looked at all areas not directly involved in patient care to see if they could be done in a different way and mean we would make savings.

“The staff have not lost their jobs, they have been moved to different jobs, and the OCS team are used to customer care and helping visitors.

“We hope visitors won't notice a difference. There will still be someone to welcome them, to point them in the right direction or walk with them.

“We know the reception area is hugely valued by thousands of people who use the hospital and staff.”

The former reception staff have been moved to other administrative roles around the hospital, which is around £24.1m in debt, with some working on wards.

Lorene Baker, chairman of Ipswich Hospital's Patient and Public Involvement Forum, said: “It's disappointing that we are losing the experienced staff from the reception but, providing the new people have similar training, I can't envisage there will be a problem.”

Have you noticed a different in service provided by the South Wards reception? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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