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Redundancy threat for 750 staff at Yorkshire trust

Up to 750 jobs could be axed at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust as it looks to save £50m by 2015.

A confidential consultation document seen by Nursing Times reveals the trust is planning to make hundreds of staff redundant with ward closures and large scale down banding of senior staff.

While the initial proposals are for 500 redundancies, the document warns the trust could be forced to make a further 250 redundancies in the future. This would equate to more than 16% of its workforce of more than 4,500 staff.

One employee, who asked not to be named, told Nursing Times: “Not surprisingly the atmosphere of distress and anger is almost palpable.  Yesterday I saw nurses visibly crying in the corridors.”

The trust is expected to deliver £21m savings by the end of the current financial year leaving between £25-£30m savings over the next two years in order to save £50m by 2015.

Proposals include making all the trust’s specialist nurses and matrons on bands 8, 7 and 6 redundant and then reemploying some of them at band 7, 6 and 5 respectively.

In addition, a series of ward reconfigurations involving critical care, clinical radiology, and accident and emergency will see nursing staff downbanded or at risk of redundancy.   

Six band 7 case managers from the trust’s chief nurse directorate are at risk of redundancy, as are a number of community nurses employed by the trust.

The trust is also planning to save £2m by closing two medical wards and a surgical ward by March 2013 with 86 staff at risk.

There will also be cuts to the number of medical secretaries, receptionists, clerks, senior management and clinical services departments as well as cuts in outpatient services, medical job plans and a reduction in therapy staff.

The trust has said a voluntary redundancy and mutually agreed resignation scheme (MARS) earlier this year failed to deliver enough savings and it has written again to staff who expressed an interest.

Where possible the trust has said it will look to reduce staff numbers through natural wastage and has frozen external recruitment.

Howard Catton, head of policy at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This is classic ‘salami slicing’ to make savings, but on a scale we have not seen before.

“It is a mass down banding and redundancy exercise and flies in the face of what we have heard in recent months that cutting posts is not a sustainable strategy. We know there are serious risks of an impact on the quality of care.”

Mr Catton said a risk assessment of the potential impact on quality and the patient experience was “notably absent” from the consultation document on the plans.

In a statement the trust admitted the proposals would impact on all staff groups and grades.

It said: “We are proposing to make up to 500 posts redundant across the trust, but expect that this will be nearer to 300. It is hoped that a significant proportion of these redundancies will be achieved through vacancies or voluntary redundancies, but it seems likely that some will unfortunately need to be compulsory.”

Matthew Lowry, acting chief executive, added: “We are working closely with unions and appropriate staff representatives to manage the process in an open and transparent manner and work with affected staff in the most sensitive way we can.

“Clearly this is an anxious time for staff concerned and a testing time for all of us at the trust – making people redundant is an unhappy responsibility and we have not made this proposal lightly.”

Readers' comments (16)

  • tinkerbell

    the hits just keep on coming. What a farce it has all become.

    Welcome the the NEW NHS.

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  • will the chief executive be down banded............I don't think so.

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  • At a time when Senior Nurses (usually the most experienced and longest served) may retire at aged 55 - exploiting their Banding in this way is at best, risky.

    Most will just pick up their pension, leave and come back on a different banding by choice, do shorter hours or both - if they return post pension pick up to the NHS at all.

    And who could blame them?

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  • The first of many....

    To force the issue and get the public on side, we need to strike.

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  • Sadly, not the first but definitely one of many to come. Royal Bolton Hospital consulting on 500 redundancies already. They will probably see downgradings as well.

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  • the tory nhs rolls on and on

    tip of the iceberg well done all you nurses who voted these idiots into power you must be so proud

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  • This has already happened in our own trust which unfortunately creates a climate of fear and uncertainty for the workforce.
    Departments are amalgamated and admin staff reduced. The workload is doubled but completed by half the staff.
    Training course attendance booms as staff enlist on as many courses as possible to justify their existence.
    All staff notice a lack of support as their managers indulge in corporate infighting to keep their jobs that would put most private businesses to shame.
    Staff remain in their own posts, blocking new recruitment in the event that the post that they apply for may no longer exist.
    Did I not mention the patients and the supposed "increase in quality care?"It is left to the front line staff to explain to confused and bewildered patients why various services are no longer available or there are longer waiting lists as the number of mistakes, complaints and yes suicides increase.
    Good luck. YOU ARE GOING TO NEED IT.

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  • Aneurin will turn in his grave. Did not see anything about the impact on patients or more accurately those people who now will not be able to become patients. It is essential that the Trust publishes an impact analysis that covers local effects on the economy, healthcare services and on the ethnic and gender balance.

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  • Having seen this in my own Trust I can only say it was the worst time I have every experienced in over 30years working in the NHS. I was one of those put at risk and was lucky to be redeployed into another post all be it at a lower grade with 2 years protection. All I can say was that the RCN rep in my Trust was brilliant as for HR it was pretty obvious they were on the Trusts side and not mine.
    The hardest bit was getting my head around the fact that nurses can be made redundant in this modern patient focused NHS.
    And why do they always announce it just before Christmas!

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  • At one time we had one head of nursing for many different speciality with in one NHS trust, but now we have one for each different speciality, so now we have a new head of nursing in my speciality, one lead nurse, two mordern matron upgraded from band 7 to 8. But at the same time four band 6's have been either redeployed, reduntent or downgraded. That was last year, this year we have been told to be ready for more changes.

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  • michael stone

    Didn't Cameron claim that changes to the NHS would not significantly affect front-line staff ? I can't really remember, but I suspect he did.

    Have all of you front-line nurses who are being fired, sent an e-mail to no 10 ?

    Lets be fair, perhaps DC et al are not aware of this wholesale carnage going on in the NHS - they wouldn't deliberately try to mislead the voting public, surely ?

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  • there are far more highly qualified nurses than there are jobs available.

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  • There are several unawered questions here, how are Trusts finding themselves in debt to the tune of £50 billion and why?
    Is it due to PFI contacts in the same way as FE colleges and schools, if it is the Trusts are remaining silent on this issue.
    And is debt being used to undermine the NHS and force NHS hospitals into private hands.
    The realy odd thing is that the New Labour intiatives such as the 4 hour A/E standard, 18 week wait for surgery and cancer referals are still in place. As staff and other assets are reduced admissions carry on rising and the public are not being informed that less means less and not more.
    The recent publication of the 30 year papers reveal Margaret Thatcher was prapared to dismantel the NHS. Is this still the Conservative game plan only this time using debt and press attacks on standards to weaken the NHS and the public image of Nursing.
    How many redundecies does it take to make a hospital non-funcional.
    It is far easier to destroy than create and there is a very real danger that the NHS may become a distant menory.

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  • No recent commented articles on pensions and retirement so I paste this reference here. The content merits a scan

    "Soaring numbers of over 60s face unemployment
    The number of unemployed baby boomers will double by 2020 as the over 60s face a growing struggle to find jobs with ageist employers, research has found."

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  • this trust has not got a PFI debt

    this is down to mis management, the chief exec has suddenly retired..aww bless..on a huge pay off no doubt and huge pension

    this trust is also hiring a guy called "the grim reaper" he is being paid £3000 a day...yep £3000 a day to fire these people..yet more mis management...they could not run a bath between them..idiots

    these are peoples lives you have screwed up..well done rotherham execs!!!

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  • maybe jeremy hunt will step in...oh hold on

    firstly he does not give a toss about the nhs, secondly its "up north" so forget it

    and secretly he's rubbing his hands with joy, the tory nhs is full steam ahead close as many hospitals as we can and blame it on the financial crisis...the tories could not wait to privatise the nhs....thatcher wanted to do away with the nhs 30 years ago as recent freedom of information papers show under the 30 year rule

    why would you ever trust the tories with the nhs

    a party of the rich for the rich

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