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Serco plans to cut 137 community posts in Suffolk

Private healthcare giant Serco has announced proposals to cut 137 posts at Suffolk Community Healthcare just a month after taking over its management.

Serco took over Suffolk Community Healthcare in October 2012. In a proposed workforce structure plan, issued to staff on 16 November, the company revealed it wanted a 17% reduction in staff.

The cuts will be made in band 3 health support workers, band 5 community nurses and band 6 specialist nurses and district nurses.

The company won the tender to run the services in July, in partnership with South Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust and a social enterprise called Community Dental Services. It has previously stated that it wants to make greater use of technology and improve efficiency as part of its care model.   

However, unions has condemned the staff reduction plans and said it will lead to patients’ suffering as a result.

Tim Roberts, Unison regional organiser, said: “There is no way that Suffolk Community Healthcare can lose so many key professionals and maintain current services.

“Serco underbid the NHS trust that was previously managing the organisation by £10m and it’s clear they now want to save that money by cutting the workforce.

“These job losses will have massive impact on health services in Suffolk and we fear that patients will suffer.”

But Paul Forden, managing director of Serco’s clinical healthcare business, said: “We have always been clear and transparent about our intention to further improve Suffolk’s community healthcare by investing in technology and increasing efficiency so that clinicians can spend more time caring for patients. This commitment has not changed.

“As part of our new approach we will need to change the way our staff work and are now starting consultations about proposals that would mean that there would be an overall reduction of 137 posts at Suffolk Community Healthcare.

“This will be made up by a reduction of 227 current roles and the creation of 90 new ones. Wherever possible, we would look to redeploy staff into these new roles.”

He said the company would not be making any compulsory redundancies among frontline clinical staff.

Tracy Dowling, NHS Suffolk’s director of strategic commissioning, said: “This will result in a more streamlined and efficient community health service and will deliver benefits for the patient and better value for the taxpayer.

“We recognise these changes will affect some staff and that it is undoubtedly a difficult and worrying time for them.”

She added: “We will be working with Serco and its partners to ensure this process of consultation is carried out thoroughly and that the opinions of staff are responded to during the consultation process.”

Readers' comments (14)

  • tinkerbell

    "We recognise these changes will affect some staff and that it is undoubtedly a difficult and worrying time for them.”

    should have added 'but quite frankly we can't bring ourselves to give a damn'.

    Welcome to the new Tory owned NHS. Coming to a place near you SOON!

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  • good on the tories

    yep the tory nhs runs on and on job cuts all over the place...great eh

    but not to worry thier rich friends who own these companies are making loads of money at the expense of the ill people of suffolk...well thats ok then!!!

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 21-Nov-2012 9:54 am

    99% of the wealth owned by 1% of the population, of course it's OK. Whatever's got into you?

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  • michael stone

    I caught the attention of a consultant recently when I commented 'Crackers !' on a critique of some of his stuff.

    This is also CRACKERS - how can NHS reforms which are to a large extent based on the ide aof more care in the primary arena, lead to the need for LESS nurses in the community ?!

    And how can they have arrived at a precise figure of 137 posts, BEFORE holding the consultations - aren't consultations supposed to help inform decision-making ?!

    Oh, sorry, stupid me - they started from their profit projections, of course: stupid of me to not grasp the importance of starting from the money.

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  • they have to make a profit some how!!

    what better way than to get rid of staff!!

    does not matter about the care in the community, what matters most to these people is money

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  • hmm is that job title 'strategic decommissioning', and we are heading for streamlining, so much so that its razor sharp and flat, to deliver nothing and it will be 100% efficient.
    "He said the company would not be making any compulsory redundancies among frontline clinical staff." - by redeployment + making your working life hell so that you'll quit, and that will save them paying out for redundancy. Welcome to your privatised NHS

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  • tinkerbell

    'Under the Health Act, which aimed to reduce political interference in the NHS, the mandate is the primary means by which the health secretary can influence the health service'

    Oh do pull the other one DH, Jeremy Hunt/Andrew Lansley et al,tory liars, it's got a whooping great big bell on it.

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  • They all speak with forked tongues ...they don`t give a damn!

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  • Serco's model is to reduce costs and keep the cash. The CQC reviewed their out of hours service in the South West:

    "The CQC had found that the Serco service was failing to meet four key legal requirements to provide enough staff and to ensure that its monitoring of its performance was accurate." (source The Guardian 20/9/12).

    "Serco, the leading private contractor to the government, has admitted that it presented false data to the NHS 252 times on the performance of its out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall." Isn' that the same as lying? I mean, come, on, 'presenting false data' once could be an oversight, but 252 times?

    But Paul Forden, managing director of Serco’s clinical healthcare business, said: “We have always been clear and transparent ..."

    Mmmm i don't think so Mr Forden.

    Hey ho, another piece of the nhs flushed down the toilet in the name of profit.

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  • tinkerbell

    'presenting false data' once could be an oversight, but 252 times?

    yep i think that constitutes lying without conscience.

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  • Someone voted Tory/LibDem. Wasn't me.

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  • just glad i didn;t vote tory or lib/dem either. Look, enough of the great british population saw fit to have this govt as a shambles....the rest just couldn't be arsed voting! They'll be the first ones to moan when it all goes tits up as well. What will be will be.

    Just remember the public will get the NHS THEY deserve.

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  • tinkerbell

    P. Damien | 23-Nov-2012 1:36 pm

    'the public' yeah that's you and me too.

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  • One of the community hosptials, Hartismere in Eye, Suffolk, had an amazing open day in the summer, proudly displaying and promoting all the health care services that would be available to the local community. Serco's 'slash and burn' approach will destroy this! So much for building community capacity!!!!

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