Union concerns at hospital changes

UNION members at Ipswich Hospital today raised doubts into alleged savings made as a result of the medical secretaries reshuffle.Unison has spoken of its scepticism and again criticised the hospital for removing experienced staff from their posts.

UNION members at Ipswich Hospital today raised doubts into alleged savings made as a result of the medical secretaries reshuffle.

Unison has spoken of its scepticism and again criticised the hospital for removing experienced staff from their posts.

The Evening Star revealed earlier this month how the hospital regraded 95 of its 134 medical secretaries - a move staff claim has led to morale hitting rock-bottom, a backlog of post and missing patients' notes.

Ipswich Hospital said the changes are designed to save the cash-strapped hospital £700,000 between September last year and September this year, and have already saved £140,000.

However, it has already had to sign up agency staff to clear a backlog of work caused by the reshuffle.

Today, Victoria Muller, Unison branch secretary, said: “Throughout the medical secretarial review Unison raised concerns which have now come home to roost.

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“We are very disappointed that the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust are now using agency staff to cope and clear the back logs at premium rates.

“Unison is sceptical as to whether this review has provided any initial savings and indeed any future savings are yet to be seen.

“With the distress caused to patients and potential complaints for the trust, coupled with loss of experienced staff and damage caused to staff morale, it raises the question was the medical secretarial review really worth it?”

Bob Cousins, joint union convenor at the hospital, said last week that staff morale had been affected, and described the reshuffle process as “a slap in the face”.

The hospital said the changes had been unsettling, but moving away from the traditional one consultant to one secretary approach, to a team-based approach, was the right way forward.

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