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Nurses 'should donate holiday' to patch up hospital finances

Health campaigners have responded angrily to a suggestion from an NHS boss that staff could “donate” a portion of their annual leave as part of an effort to save £30m.

In a staff bulletin, Epsom and St Helier Trust chief executive Samantha Jones said that employees could play an important role in helping to save the money in the current financial year.

She wrote: “A number of you have said that you would be willing to sacrifice some of your annual leave allowance and come to work instead.

“It might seem obvious, but each and every single day off in the organisation costs the Trust money. This is particularly true if a member of bank or agency staff has to be hired to cover for your post.

“I fully support this idea, and in fact I have decided to work on one of my annual leave days. If everybody agreed to work just one annual leave day, it would make a significant contribution in helping to achieve our goal.”

Ms Jones explained that in many NHS trusts, staff were agreeing to reduce their contracted hours between now and the end of the financial year, in return for an appropriate reduction in pay.

“I know some of you have enquired about this and I would encourage you to discuss this with your line manager and the HR manager for your area.

“Leading by example, a number of our consultants and doctors have already agreed to take a reduction in their pay between now and March 2011, but work the same number of hours as they do now.”

NHS pressure group Health Emergency chairman Geoff Martin said: “It wasn’t the nurses and other members of staff who dragged the Epsom and St Helier Trust into financial chaos, and suggesting that they cut their hours and their pay and give up their annual leave and work for nothing is a disgrace.”

Unison regional officer Michael Walker said: “This shows how bad the situation has become when it is suggested that nurses and health workers give up their annual leave to bail out the NHS.”

He said the union had written to local MP and health minister Paul Burstow urging him to intervene and bail out the hospital.

Mr Walker said: “We must stop dedicated, overstretched staff from being forced to give up their holiday in order to provide vital patient care.”

Readers' comments (32)

  • dont be so bl**dy stuped may be that would like to
    1)give threre bonuses to a charity of nurses choice
    2)give there hoildays up and work on ward for nothing
    3) have a cut in there salary
    then perhaps these moneys can be reanstated
    its a good joke bosses put it in a cracker!!!
    ho! ho! ho!

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  • What an unbelievably naive proposal. I am sure thousands of demoralised, under-valued, exhausted nurses will jump at the chance of working for free for a day...and whilst we are at it increase our parking costs, freeze our pay, freeze our increments and go back on all of the nationally employment agreements!

    Oh and by the way, don't bother to chase up the unpaid taxes of the millionaire classes and continue to pay extravagant bonuses to bankers and MP's - the people actually responsible for the financial mess.

    Brilliant!!!

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  • LOL

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  • Do we not already work many days 'for free' as unpaid overtime --- just to get the job done

    How dare you even consider taking MORE off nursing staff than has already been taken!

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  • Un-F'ing-believable. No, I would not like to do that, thank you very much. I already contribute untold hours in lost breaks and staying over that never seem to be recovered in T.O.I.L.

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  • Words fail me. I think this person who suggested this should be sacked from their post and it should be given to someone capable of doing the job. If there are big financial problems within that trust it is down to the director who holds the budget..

    Get real here!!!

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  • perhaps the powers that be should stop spending money on "team building" days and stupid statues that no-one appreciates but cost a fortune. taking even more from nurses is demoralising and will only serve to create a lower work morale and reduce working standards as a result.

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  • Absolute agreement with all comments above. Instead of Time Owing, on our ward we are told to "Manage our time better" realistically leaving us with hours of time owed.

    WE NEED TO STRIKE!!! or continue to allow the managers/Govt to shaft us 'til the commodes come home.

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  • Nurses get NO job related Perks!
    and now they want us to work a day of an our annual leave....
    Reduce the TOP heavy management structure....
    That would save a trusts LOADS a MONEY!

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  • we absolutely agree with 11.37. we already work 100`s of hours per year unpaid just to ensure that the patients get the care they need , if this director is not already aware of this she must be working in a different time dimension to the rest of us, Oh and earning so much money that she does not have any bills/debts to pay.
    Beam me up scottie!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • If I was paid a decent wage for the work I do and was paid overtime for all the time I stay late then I might agree that it was a possibility. However I am not, so ask the CEO or your countless operations managers or a modern matron or 2 or 3 if they can help you out

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  • I agree with 12:55 strike action is required now not just from nurses but from people in all occupations. If people want care levels maintained (and improved) they have to show support. This concerns everyone who uses the NHS not just nursing staff.

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  • Absolute agreement with all comments above. Instead of Time Owing, on our ward we are told to "Manage our time better" realistically leaving us with hours of time owed.

    WE NEED TO STRIKE!!! or continue to allow the managers/Govt to shaft us 'til the commodes come home.

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  • For real!!!!! An absolute disgrace! who messed up the budgets? The Nurses I think not! The Chief Exec should leave if the Trust is in such a dire state that they have to ask frontline workers to sacrifice holidays!

    FREEZE OUR COST OF LIVING INCREASE FREEZE OUR PAY INCREMENTS AND ASK US TO GIVE UP HOLIDAYS-
    DISGUSTING

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  • And I thought I had heard it all but this crackpot CEO takes the prize for being stupid. Sack her and get a real leader in the post

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  • Why doesn't this idiot donate her yearly salary to save money? No? Didn't think so!

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  • I have a suggestion - why does'nt every chief executive, consultant & chief operating officer take a 10% cut in salary that would be a good start. When this has happened maybe then nurses & midwives would consider a 1 day drop in annual leave until then - no way!
    I have forgotton how many unpaid hours I alraedy give to my patients & staff in order to do my job but in 32 yrs it has to be thousands.

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  • I wonder if this CEO is one of those who have never been a nurse. The suggestion is insulting. I think this CEO needs to come onto the shop floor and work for at least a month and then see if the same suggestion is made.

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  • This is incredible, its alright for this arrogent overpaid manager to make such suggestions, she most probably has a very good salary disproportionate to those under her so one day working free to her would be like 2 days for staff at ground level. She likely does not need to struggle with bills in face of cost of living and incremental pay freezes while all around us energy prices and other costs keep rising.
    With a partner who has just managed to get back to full time work (minimum wage I might add) after being made redundant several times in past 4 years and hefmortgage I for one am not happy to donate a days holiday to work unpaid or otherwise for the benefit of wasteful NHS trusts while they have overpaid unnecessary management posts.

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  • In addition to my previous comment which i accidently cut short (damn laptop)
    I would like to draw attention to something else that I recently read (on here I think) regarding next years public holiday for Royal wedding, it has been mentioned that trusts could force staff to take it out of their holidays due to a clause in Agenda for change! Well it seems to me that the Agenda for Change has been broken by the trusts who are appealing to Governement allow them to cease paying the agreed incremental rises due to staff.
    So in summary if trusts want to break the terms of Agenda for change agreements then they cannot apply it when it suits them force staff to honour our part of it and therefore we like evryone else in this country are entitled to one extra bank holiday as agreed by Government!

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