Simply an option

The article 'Nursing union confronts hospital over job cuts' (June 30), reporting an interview with Steve Nicholson, contains a number of inaccuracies, which I would like to correct. The report removed any conditional statements in the interview, so tha

The article 'Nursing union confronts hospital over job cuts' (June 30), reporting an interview with Steve Nicholson, contains a number of inaccuracies, which I would like to correct. The report removed any conditional statements in the interview, so that it appears that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is definitely going to make a legal challenge to Weston General Hospital. In actual fact this is simply an option which is being considered. Steve informed your reporter that, in response to a number of proposed changes at the hospital, the RCN has been in discussion with its solicitors to consider whether it may be appropriate to take any legal steps. Such legal action might challenge the hospital's decision to alter contracts without consultation and if such a challenge was successful could lead to the trust being fined. However, we very much hope we can resolve our differences without going down this road. If proposals for service changes lead to redundancies or major changes to contracts and the proper process has not been followed, this can result in an organisation being taken to an employment tribunal, which is why the RCN and other organisations are keen to work closely with any trust proposing service changes. Where there is the possibility of more than 20 redundancies then an organisation must notify the Department of Trade and Industry (not the Dept for Employment and Learning) and copy that notification to recognised trade unions. Finally we are surprised the Trust has commented that we have not been in contact with it, as there have been a number of communications, including some with the chief executive. We would welcome an invitation from the trust to continue discussing these concerns.Sue French Full Time Officer, RCN - North Somerset, Bath & Bristol* Editor's note: Assistant regional officer Steve Nicholson told reporter Jack Hunter that the RCN would mount a legal challenge against the trust before the end of June.


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