Eleven new finance jobs worth at least £400,000 have been advertised at a health trust – days after nearly 40 staff in the same department were told their jobs are to go.
The move has angered the workers facing redundancy, who today described it as “just another smack in the face”.
If the 11 new staff were appointed at the bottom of the pay scale their wages would still cost South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust nearly £400,000 a year.
At the top end the wages would be closer to half-a-million pounds.
Most of the jobs were advertised on the website jobs.nhs.uk just days after 37 payroll workers were told their roles were being “outsourced” to Lancashire.
As reported, the shock news – two days before Christmas – left staff reeling.
One 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.”
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.
Among the 11 new positions now being advertised in the trust’s finance department are a head of financial management on £65,922-£81,618 per annum, head of financial governance and control, also on £65,922- £81,618, and financial controller on between £39,239-£47,088.
One of the payroll staff, who asked to remain anonymous, said:
“We all feel appalled and let down by the way we have been treated.
“The timing of advertising the positions in finance is just another smack in the face.
“How can the trust possibly justify this sort of spending at a time when it is in such deficit and other departments trust-wide are being told job losses are inevitable?”
Payroll staff 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.”
Responding to the job adverts a South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said:
“The trust is working hard to achieve a number of savings plans and financial initiatives which have been developed to ensure the organisation makes the required savings over the next three years.
“In order to achieve these plans it is crucial that financial support is available. We have looked at our current structure and are recruiting to essential posts.
“In line with our savings plans any posts which are not essential will be removed from our structure.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 03 Jan 2015
A cash-strapped health trust is spending what has been described as an “obscene” £350,000 to relocate offices of its management and other services.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright says the cash for the “flashy” offices at the town’s hospital could have been better used keeping two hospital-based nurseries open for at least 18 months.
The repositioning of the rooms at the University Hospital of Hartlepool comes at a time when services are being stripped away and shifted to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
But bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation trust, which is £1.25m in deficit, say the move is part of centralising remaining services in the main tower block of the Holdforth Road site and will save £550,000 on running costs.
A disgruntled trust worker told the Mail that a number of offices, including a chief executive’s office with en-suite toilet, chairman’s office, a boardroom and administration offices, were being created at the town site on what was Ward 5, on the third floor.
It comes as a consultation is underway to close the day nurseries at the two hospitals, which have lost £764,000 in four years, with around 50 jobs at risk.
Union chiefs have slammed the move as “obscene”, especially in light of the proposed axing of the nurseries.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said:
“The idea that £350,000 is being spent, speaking as an accountant, I can’t see where the savings are going to be made.
“£350,000 could keep the nurseries at Hartlepool and North Tees open for another 18 months.
“You have got a spending priority at a time when the NHS is starved of funds, and it wouldn’t be flashy offices.”
The worker, who did not wish to be named, said the relocation work included the stripping out of oxygen tubes from the ward’s former use.
Work to fit carpets in the offices was carried out on a Bank Holiday, but the trust says this did not incur any extra costs.
The worker said:
“I can’t understand why Alan Foster is putting an office suite and other rooms in while they are talking about closing Hartlepool hospital.
“And he is trying to close the nurseries at the two hospitals, yet he has built these new offices.”
Unison area organiser Mark Edmundson said:
“At a time when the trust is proposing to close two nurseries that provide essential childcare for trust staff and the local community and also make people redundant, the cost of these offices is simply obscene.
“Unison urges the trust to look again at the nursery closure; perhaps fewer new offices for the highest-paid executives at the trust would enable this lifeline for hard-working people to remain open.”
Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, which includes North Tees, said:
“I am very surprised that the trust would spend such huge amounts of money on offices at a time when they are contemplating cuts to things like nursery provision.
“If they are able to make savings of half a million pounds as a result, that’s money that could be directly invested in the nursery provision, which could be expanded, if there is a will to do that.”
The trust’s associated director of estates and facilities Peter Mitchell said:
“Work is continuing to ensure we make best use of the buildings and space at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
“The plan is to bring in as many services as possible into the main hospital building to improve security and quality.
“Services which have been occupied in the Hart Building including office space, meeting rooms, wheelchair services, ICT, the sewing room, medical records and domestic services are being moved into a space formerly used as wards in the main hospital building.
“The costs associated with the space utilisation work is £350,000. It is estimated that by moving these services and closing the Hart Building, the trust will save around £550,000 – money to be put back into patient care.”
The trust says the toilet associated with Mr Foster’s office was already there.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 07 Oct 2014
A North East MP has entered the row over proposed changes to mental health services that will see scores of jobs lost in the North East.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery says vulnerable patients and their families are left feeling abandoned by plans to alter the way that important services are delivered in the region.
Controversial plans have been made by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust to close mental health wards, relocate service and develop new units.
Mr Lavery said: “I have met with a number of my constituents who use the services and they feel that they are being abandoned by the mental health trust.
“It really concerns me the planned changes that have been made. We cannot sit back and say that everything is fine because the reality is that it is not. These changes will put real and increased strain on patients and their families.
“We cannot get rid of such critical services. It would appear that these changes are being made to cut costs with patients not being the main focus.”
Under the proposals, as many as 169 frontline NHS posts will be axed and more than 90 beds reduced as more care is delivered in the community.
Each year since 2010, the trust has been required to make savings of approximately £12m while meeting the same levels of demand.
Health chiefs are adamant that the proposals will significantly improve patient care while delivering cost savings to ensure services remain viable in the long-term.
James Duncan, acting chief executive of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have listened very carefully to the feedback we have received from service users, carers and our partners in recent years so that we can play our part in providing the best modern mental health services for local people, designed around their needs.
“Building on this, we have embarked on a challenging transformation programme to ensure that our services continue to be high quality, are easier to access and provide the best value for money.
“It is important to remember that the vast majority of people who use our services are supported in the community, with only about 3% needing to spend time in hospital. Alongside changes to inpatient services, we have also seen significant improvements in mental health services locally.”
Staff at the health trust have undergone a consultation process and a number of public engagement events have taken place to discuss the proposals.
It is expected that all the changes will be in place within the next two to three years.
Source – Newcastle Journal 05 May 2014