A consultation has closed on workforce changes at Barts Health NHS Trust that could see around 260 nursing posts cut and many more downbanded.
The three-week consultation on the proposed efficiency changes to the east London trust’s management, nursing and administration workforce finished on 30 September.
The plans include cutting a total of 323 whole time equivalent posts by October and downbanding several hundred more.
Of the posts earmarked to be removed from the trust’s establishment, 61 are categorised as “non nursing”, 148 as “nursing” and 112 as “non ward based nurses”.
If the changes are approved they will lead to a reduction of both band 6 registered nurse posts and band 3 healthcare assistant posts. Meanwhile, there will be an increase in the number of band 5s and band 2s.
In addition, band 8C heads of nursing and band 8A matron posts are to be replaced by a new band 8B senior nurse role.
Managers said the changes were required to allow the financially troubled trust to reduce its costs while at the same time allowing it to operate an average registered nurse: patient ratio of 1:7 for non-specialist adult wards. This would be higher than the 1:8 called for by the Safe Staffing Alliance in May.
A nursing skill mix review for the trust, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, indicated that it had a higher than average proportion of band 6 and band 3 nursing staff, according to the consultation documents.
The Royal College of Nursing highlighted that trust management had separately put forward plans to downgrade the pay protection currently in place for long term staff whose posts were downbanded.
Under existing arrangements agreed in April 2012 pay is protected for up to a maximum of three years. The trust is now seeking to bring the upper limit down to twelve months.
The RCN said has stated its “strong opposition” to the move.
Barts Health Trust was formed from a merger of Barts and the London, Whipps Cross University Hospital and Newham University Hospital trusts in April 2012.
The combined organisation has a turnover of £1.2bn for 2013-14 and wants to end the financial year with a surplus of £1.1m.
But the trust recorded a £15.7m year-to-date deficit at the end of May, according to board papers from July, showing it was already off target during the first two months of the financial year.
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