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Plans to down-band Swindon theatre practitioners withdrawn

Union leaders are claiming victory after Great Western Hospitals Foundation Trust withdrew plans to down-band operating theatre staff.

Under plans presented to staff at Great Western Hospital in Swindon last October, senior nurses and operating department practitioners would have had to re-apply for their current jobs. Those who were unsuccessful would have had their pay cut by up to 19% – just over £6,500 – said Unison, which campaigned against the move.

“We are delighted managers have decided to listen to their staff”

Michael Sweetman

However, after talks with staff and union representatives, the trust announced no down-bandings would take place.

Unison area organiser Michael Sweetman said the prospect of significant pay cuts had been “frightening” for staff and their families.

“Our members in the operating theatre were overwhelmingly opposed to this idea,” he said. “We are delighted managers have decided to listen to their staff in time to avoid what could have been an unpleasant dispute.”

The trust insisted the changes were not about saving money but ensuring modern working practices and the right leadership in its operating theatres.

“We have spent several months talking to staff in theatres, looking at how we can change the way we work to support better patient care,” said Oonagh Fitzgerald, trust director of workforce and education.

“After listening to staff, it was clear we needed to implement some of the proposals and not others. Some of the proposed improvements will go ahead include strengthening the leadership and clarifying roles within teams,” she said.

Ms Fitzgerald added that demands on hospitals like hers and challenges facing the NHS as a whole meant services “cannot stand still, and we need to develop and change the way we work”.

Trust managers will meet with theatre teams over the next few weeks to discuss “how theatres will work in the future”, she said.

Readers' comments (5)

  • the changes were not about saving money who is the Trust trying to kid.

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  • Maybe Ms Fitzgerald should look at down banding the HR department who all went off on an away day and came back up-banded and wearing suits. Get real and start truly supporting the front line clinical staff, who are the real workers at the trust.

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  • It's high time the NHS management structure was 'down banded'!!
    Are you reading this Mr Hunt?

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  • The trust insisted the changes were not about saving money but ensuring modern working practices and the right leadership in its operating theatres.

    no course its not about saving money!!!!

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  • Perhaps Oonagh Fitzgerald, trust director of workforce and education should spend at least a week wearing "scrubs".

    I am sure Ms Fitzgerald has all the necessary skills , knowledge and experience required to demonstrate how the job of a theatre practitioner should be undertaken !

    Put her on the out of hours rota !

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