Staff turnover rockets as axe plans circulate

PUBLISHED: 17:22 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:08 25 August 2010

STAFF turnover at a hospital with an A&E department facing the axe has nearly doubled the national average.

STAFF turnover at a hospital with an A&E department facing the axe has nearly doubled the national average.

Staff at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, have been leaving in droves after talks began last April, about vital services being taken away from the site.

The hospital saw its staff turnover rates rocket to 17.8 per cent in 06/07 year and 15.6 last year, against a national average of 10 per cent.

Despite widespread opposition to the cuts, the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) decided on July 21 to strip QMS of A&E and maternity services. This followed a 14-week consultation in which the majority of residents told the committee A Picture of Health, they did not want any of the options put forward by them.

Bromley Hospitals Trust had a 10.7 per cent turnover last year, up from 7.7 per cent the year before, once it was confirmed the Princess Royal Hospital, Farnborough, would have to take on the extra workload. Now, chief executive at QMS Kate Grimes claims more uncertainty over the hospital's future will lead to more problems with staff retainment.

Despite her giving evidence at Monday night's meeting of the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, at Bexley's Civic Offices, councillors voted to take the decision to the Secretary of State, Alan Johnson to review.

Ms Grimes said: "Whilst we understand the committee's desire to refer this decision to the Secretary of State, it does prolong uncertainty about the hospital's future.

"We are working hard to maintain the morale of our staff but, in a competitive London market, with attractive roles available elsewhere it is not surprising to see our turnover of staff increasing.

"It will also become difficult to attract good candidates to vacancies during a prolonged period of uncertainty.

"We are working with our neighbouring trusts to create shared support in both clinical and non clinical areas to mitigate against these difficulties, but we have accepted for some time that Queen Mary's is too small to continue trying to meet the improvements in services that are expected by the Department of Health and by patients without some major changes in the way that we work."

Chair of the committee which took the decision to refer the case, David Hurt, defended taking the decision to review. He said: "We are concerned about staff turnover but we are also concerned about our residents and we are not satisfied with the decision that was taken."

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