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Staff re-organisation criticised at hospital facing A&E axe threat

PUBLISHED: 13:02 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:00 25 August 2010

A HOSPITAL employee has blasted Trust bosses for reshuffling staff across three hospital sites in a bid to save money

A HOSPITAL employee has blasted Trust bosses for reshuffling staff across three hospital sites in a bid to save money.

South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, and Princess Royal Hospital, Farnborough, is cutting its administrative posts.

Managers are not filling vacant posts and are also moving staff around the three sites and creating an in-house pool of workers on temporary assignments in a bid to cut down on agency staff.

This comes after Queen Mary's A&E was threatened with the axe three and a half years ago, sparking the Times Save Our Services campaign.

A personal assistant at the Sidcup hospital, who wishes to remain anonymous as Trust bosses have repeatedly warned staff against speaking to the press, said moving employees to different sites will not save money.

She said: "The dietician PA at Queen Mary's is now having to go to the physiotherapy department at Queen Elizabeth's and the occupational therapist PA is now going to the dietician department work at Queen Mary's.

"How does it save money when we are on the same band but moving buildings?

"It doesn't make rhyme nor reason. Staff are really disgruntled with the way it has been dealt with. When you do a job for a particular number of years and then moving departments, it is like almost like starting a job again."

A spokesperson for the Trust, which is more than £200 million in debt, said: "We need to make sure that we have the right staff in the right places.

"At a time of tighter public spending we also need to become more efficient.

"We are looking to reduce the Trust's administration costs by stripping-out bureaucracy and minimising the use of temporary or agency staff. We are consulting with 850 colleagues and estimating a reduction of approximately 145 posts - this is posts at full time equivalent rate, not people.

"We are not expecting or intending redundancies as part of this process and are planning to redeploy affected staff into existing vacant posts, alongside replacing temporary staff with permanent colleagues.

"These changes will be put in place first to minimise any impact on frontline services. We will also shortly be consulting with nursing staff, to ensure that we have the right skills in place to take account of the changing service needs at the Trust.

"We need more permanent nurses, not fewer, as we currently have high nursing vacancy rates.

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