Plans to down-band Swindon theatre practitioners withdrawn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”
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.