Rock bottom nurses join protest march

PUBLISHED: 07:47 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:15 24 May 2010

NURSES are fighting back against the loss of 60 jobs at Weston General Hospital by staging a rally in London. The nurses will be climbing aboard a bus and travelling to the Houses of Parliament today (May 11) to protest about the shock announcement last w

NURSES are fighting back against the loss of 60 jobs at Weston General Hospital by staging a rally in London.The nurses will be climbing aboard a bus and travelling to the Houses of Parliament today (May 11) to protest about the shock announcement last week that jobs and beds are to go as North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) tries to save £11million. They will join colleagues from across the country in a mass rally organised by the Royal College of Nurses which wants health trusts to better handle their financial problems.The anxiety of Weston nursing staff was highlighted in a letter received by the Weston & Somerset Mercury this week.An employee, who did not want to be named, said the trust is planning to almost halve its number of ward sisters, with remaining wards having to cope with being merged together. The correspondent said more junior nurses will be put in charge of nursing care and patients will lose the expertise of senior colleagues, who also help train doctors.They said: "Money has to be saved, but nursing staff have been working on minimum staffing levels for a long time and have felt unable to provide proper patient care."Many senior staff will leave because morale, which was at rock bottom before, is now non-existent."A hospital spokesman said: "The trust is redesigning its services and reducing its bed numbers because our PCTs will be sending fewer patients to hospital and caring for more of them in the community."One of the effects of this is a plan to reorganise our nurse management structure, but the ratio of nurses to patients will not change."We are also developing a new senior nurse role to provide better and closer support for ward nurses than the current structure allows. This will ensure the most appropriate care is delivered to the patients in the most effective way."The North Somerset PCT board has just approved a local delivery plan to make sure only patients that really need hospital care are admitted.The trust plans to develop services to support patients with long-term health conditions in the community and reduce emergency admissions to hospital.The PCT board has agreed to look at potential sites for a primary care resource centre in Weston which would include GP surgeries and rooms for other consultants in fields such as physiotherapy. The board is also setting up a multi-agency group to review facilities and prioritise improvements for North Somerset's rural areas.

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