Staff quitting over hospital change - claim

PUBLISHED: 07:27 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 24 May 2010

FRONT-line services are suffering at Weston General Hospital as staff struggle to cope with a job shake-up, says a former senior member of staff. Health bosses are merging wards, cutting beds and reducing staff numbers to save £11m and reduce the hospital

FRONT-line services are suffering at Weston General Hospital as staff struggle to cope with a job shake-up, says a former senior member of staff.Health bosses are merging wards, cutting beds and reducing staff numbers to save £11m and reduce the hospital's annual budget overspend. This week, two surgical wards were merged with the loss of 12 beds. The hospital says more care will be provided in the community.The Weston & Somerset Mercury understands two staff resigned last week. The hospital would not say how many workers have resigned or been found new jobs since the changes started.A former senior member of staff in close contact with current workers told the Mercury that front-line services are being affected.Former nursing officer Barbara Bennett, who had responsibility for about 200 staff before retiring, said: "Several ward managers, who are actually ward sisters, have been displaced from their field of expertise and have been moved to less fulfilling posts, just to fill gaps."These are highly skilled, professional and caring nurses who have been in posts for many years at Weston."Those ward sisters who remain in their posts now have to take charge of two wards or areas which, I consider, raises more concerns."Already working under tremendous pressure, how will they be able to monitor and deliver the care patients should expect to their professional satisfaction?"True, there are less beds on each ward now, but the fast through-put of patients causes more pressure."People should know it isn't managers who have been replaced, but senior nurses. These are the ones who deliver, these are the ones who care."Another staff member called the Mercury anonymously and said: "We've just lost a really experienced ward manager in the reshuffle. The staff have been messed around so much. People who have worked on wards for a long time are being cast adrift. I know of two people this week who have resigned."A hospital spokesman said: "We have reduced our nursing management staff and have done so without redundancies, as anticipated. All staff have been identified with a post in the new structure for which they have the required skills."We have further enhanced the care of patients with the introduction of case managers working on the wards to ensure timely discharge and admission of patients as appropriate. Patient safety and quality of care remain at the heart of our intentions.

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