Porters furious at rest room loss

PORTERS at Ipswich Hospital are furious because they claim their rest room has been taken away from them.Space is at such a premium at the Heath Road site that the room where they were able to eat their meals and make hot drinks has now been turned into an office.

PORTERS at Ipswich Hospital are furious because they claim their rest room has been taken away from them.

Space is at such a premium at the Heath Road site that the room where they were able to eat their meals and make hot drinks has now been turned into an office.

The porters who work shifts round the clock claim they now have to take any breaks in the hospital restaurants, which are often not open for 24 hours.

A source said the porters feel angry and betrayed at the move and were even considering cancelling their union membership because of the lack of support.


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Originally the porters had down time rather than specific breaks so that if there was no work to be done they could use their rest room.

But the source said: "Now they have designated breaks in their shift.

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"By the time they have walked to the canteen the break is almost over."

Another concern is that the porters also have to take their break with members of the public around them.

The source said: "The porters can sometimes have quite a tough time, they have to take the dead bodies to the mortuary and they are also sometimes used as security if there is a problem with a violent patient.

"When you are working with things like that you need time to yourself and don't want to be sitting with the public."

There are 26 porters who are on the 24-hour shift pattern and six porters and a supervisor working at any one time.

For the last seven years they have been managed by Sodexho but since February have been taken over by a new contractor OCS.

The source said: "They feel they have been treated abysmally by everyone."

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital said that unlike before porters are now being guaranteed proper meal breaks, lunch breaks and rest periods and that there were staff only restaurants and areas they could go to that are open 24 hours.

But she added that it was often a long walk to certain areas of the 46 acre site and this is something that was being looked into.

She said: "As a Trust we are looking into how we can provide quiet areas for staff to have their breaks,

"We do recognise that working in the NHS can be very stressful and all the members of the team make a huge contribution."

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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