Nearly 40 Middlesbrough hospital staff were told two days before Christmas that their jobs are being “outsourced” to Lancashire.
The shock news has left workers reeling in the payroll department at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Trust chiefs say the review of financial services is part of a programme to save £90m over three years – “that will eventually touch all areas of the organisation”.
From April, 2015 services provided by the trust’s payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable teams will move to East Lancashire Financial Services, part of Calderstone Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Over the last three months the 37 full and part-time staff in those teams have had weekly meetings with managers about the review.
They received confirmation yesterday of the trust board’s decision to move the services to another NHS provider.
Staff effected will be subject to TUPE transfer, under which they would keep certain employment rights, to East Lancashire Financial Services, say the trust.
But chief executive, Professor Tricia Hart said:
“The board recognises that moving may not be a viable option for some staff.
“In those cases the trust will work with individual staff members to look for alternative roles at South Tees, in line with the trust’s policies.”
She added: “It is never a good time to make decisions that have a major impact on lives of staff, and we would not normally want to make such an announcement so close to Christmas.
“However in our discussions with staff over the last three months they have made it clear they wanted to know about any decision on the future of their services as soon as it was made.
“We will now be working on the detail of the contract with East Lancashire Financial Services over the coming months, and during that period we will support the staff affected by the change, having one-to-one discussions with individuals as well as team meetings to keep them up to date with details of the outsourcing process.”
Prof Hart said, in making the decision, the board “did give detailed consideration to a proposal put forward by staff to keep the services in-house, but unfortunately it did not offer the same benefits as the outsourcing option.”
A staff member said:
“We are mad that jobs are going from Teesside. Our area suffers enough and it’s the knock-on effect for our families.
“It’s only two days before Christmas.
“There’s a TUPE situation, but they will probably do that to get out of paying us redundancies.
“People are not going to take their families to East Lancashire.
“It’s been in the pipeline since early September – and they’ve waited until now to tell us officially.
“We said we could match them, so it wouldn’t cost any more and they wouldn’t outsource but they’ve gone for outsourcing.
“They haven’t treated us fairly. Everyone is really upset, especially when you see the big wigs getting their salary increases, then staff losing their jobs the next week.”
The trust says the outsourcing option will also free up space at The James Cook University Hospital to allow IT staff to move back on site from Eggleston Court in Middlesbrough, saving money on rented accommodation.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 24 Dec 2014