Trusts are starting to focus on cutting staffing costs as the recession exerts pressure on NHS budgets.
Almost 300 nurses working for Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust in Wales, which is trying to save £60m, have been told their job descriptions could be changed and their Agenda for Change bands altered.
RCN professional officer David Wallace, who covers the Cardiff area, said he had been formally told that almost 300 band 6 nurses could be downgraded to band five.
This is despite the fact that the trust will cease to exist on 1 October under a restructuring of the NHS in Wales, which will see boards and trusts merged. ‘It seems particularly silly for an organisation that is dying to try to make changes that it won’t even be able to implement,’ he said.
Dave Galligan, Unison head of health for Wales, described the proposals as ‘crass and naïve’.
However, a spokesperson for the trust said the plans were just one of a number of options that were being considered.
It also emerged last week that Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was to focus on reducing staffing costs to help save £50m over the next three years.
Speaking at a meeting with the board of governors, chief executive Miles Scott said: ‘We can’t cut £50m by cutting cleaning budgets or letting waiting lists treble. Inevitably, in an organisation with 70% of money going on staffing costs we will have to find a way of reducing our staffing costs.’