UNION bosses battling to save jobs at Rotherham General Hospital claim that staff have been left “shattered” by the news that 58 jobs could go.
Health chiefs from the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the running of the hospital, have announced that 58 of its staff had been placed “at risk” of the axe, with 37 redundancies already considered unavoidable.
Trust employees were told about the cuts at a meeting with Rotherham’s health service manager on Friday.
This week Roy Shirley, from UNISON’s Rotherham’s branch, said: “Staff have been left utterly shattered by news of these cuts.
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“Friday’s meeting came completely out of the blue.
“Though we know that these are hard times, there was no indication before then that these cuts were going to be made.
“UNISON is now working closely with those members of staff that have already lost their jobs and negotiations with the trust are ongoing.
“Up to 60 jobs could go but we are hopeful that we can prevent that from happening.”
One member of staff who was made redundant on Friday after a number of years at the hospital said: “This came completely out of the blue.
“With a multi-million pound investment in the hospital’s facade underway, we thought the trust was in relatively good financial shape.”“
She added: “Most of the people that have been made redundant have been at the hospital for a number of years but temporary staff have remained.
“This can’t have been the most cost effective way of making cuts.”
The trust’s chief executive, Brian James, said that the staff cuts were being made among “back office” employees and would not effect front-line services.
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He said that the move was an essential part of improving the trust’s efficiency.
Mr James revealed: “Like the rest of the public sector, the NHS is facing tough times financially which is already starting to affect us. We therefore need to identify ways to continue to improve our services for patients whilst being even more efficient.
“We have been exploring how to best manage our costs to minimise the impact of any funding reductions on our patients and frontline services.
“As part of this we have reviewed Corporate Services and are proposing a restructure which will release efficiencies in our ‘back office’ functions.
“The restructure will mean we will need to make redundancies in this area.
“Some 58 staff have been put ‘at risk’, although we only propose 37 redundancies.
“We are working closely with unions to manage the process in an open and transparent manner and work with affected staff in the most sensitive way we can.
“We have made every effort to ensure there is no negative impact on patient care.”
But the union representative claimed that the hospital’s services will be affected by the staff cuts.
He said: “Everyone of our members had a valuable role to play at the hospital and there absence will be felt following these cuts.”
Mr James said: “Making people redundant is an unhappy responsibility and we have not made this proposal lightly.”
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