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Nurses told to justify their jobs

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VOL: 102, ISSUE: 34, PAGE NO: 4

Adrian O’Dowd

Jobs watch 22 August 2006

Jobs watch 22 August 2006

Nurses facing redundancy at a trust that is predicting one of the biggest job losses in the country have hit out at plans to make them justify why they should keep their jobs.

University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust is holding ‘redundancy interviews’ this week to find out which posts should remain and which should go. It plans to make 1,000 redundancies - almost 400 of which will be nursing posts.

At the same time the RCN is warning that the NHS cash crisis is showing no signs of slowing down with an estimated 18,000 posts at risk across England.

Staff expecting to undergo undergoing redundancy interviews reacted angrily last week. They will be scored on different criteria including sickness absence, qualifications, performance, knowledge and skills, and willingness to adapt to change.

Chris Bourne, RCN Stoke and district branch secretary, said in some cases a nurse’s manager would also be questioned to help measure a person’s worth.

‘Some of these are hard to measure so a person’s line manager will be interviewed about a person. Nurses are very angry and looking for action. We are trying to minimise the numbers of staff going through compulsory redundancies,’ Mr Bourne added.

Janice Bailey, a sister in a medical assessment unit at the trust who is facing redundancy, says she and others are prepared to strike over the issue.

‘The region is keen, but nationally the support does not seem to be there. I want them to ballot staff on industrial action but I think they are scared what such a ballot would say,’ she added.

A spokesperson for the trust said that making staff redundant was unavoidable in the course of attempts to return the trust to financial stability.

‘We would assure staff involved in the current selection process that it will be both fair and transparent,’ he added.

The RCN is urging nurses to sign up to their ‘Keep Nurses Working - Keep Patients Safe’ campaign, which will result in a petition being handed in at 10 Downing Street in the autumn.

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