GMB concerns over East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust plans to cut 650 NHS jobs
"The Trust have sought to reduce their financial deficit through any number of measures over recent times, many of which have purposely targeted or indirectly affected hard working loyal NHS frontline and support staff", says GMB Southern
GMB Union are today calling for complete public disclosure of the full 5-year financial recovery plan document by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT). Plans which make reference to the possible removal of around 650 or 10% of the current workforce as one of the measures to bring Trust finances back into the black.
ESHT, who’s financial position remains precarious with a deficit of around £57 million in 2017-18 and employ over 6500 staff, are aiming for a deficit of £45m this year and have therefore had to remain in financial special measures. The Trust have given a glimpse of their vision through a partial presentation to staff side associations which included a section on the potential of reducing staffing levels by around 10% over the next 5 years.
GMB are concerned at both predicted staff losses and other measures as yet unseen in the full presentation which might threaten both NHS clinical and non-clinical services within ESHT and possibly seek outsourcing and privatisation as a justification to simply reduce their short term operating deficit.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said: "ESHT have sought to reduce their financial deficit through any number of measures over recent times, many of which have purposely targeted or indirectly affected hard working loyal NHS frontline and support staff. This is by either reducing overtime payments and instead introducing inferior bank pay rates for the same work or by seeking to down band some HCA roles. This is done by using back door partnerships working in reducing staffing costs in departments now at risk of becoming solely owned subsidiaries and most recently of course with the increases in staff parking charges.
"Strange that those who are ultimately responsible for the Trust’s financial mismanagement don’t seem to have suffered any financial detriment or departmental cuts and often in fact spend large amounts of public money bringing in consultants to simply reaffirm that the Trust are in debt and that cuts and reductions and sweeping changes are the way forward. Of course you do have to look and wonder if these same decision makers fared better or worse in comparison to the lowest paid in the Trust with recent pay increases.
"Let’s be clear, ESHT aren’t alone within the NHS by over working their staff to the point of exhaustion, seeing staff regularly miss or work through their breaks, find themselves starting early or finishing late doing unpaid overtime in order to meet patient needs and the Trust’s requirements. Staff are constantly stressed and find themselves increasingly bullied by an employer who should be doing the most to look after staff, the NHS’s greatest asset, on our behalf.
"But where ESHT seem to stand out is that they are, because of financial reasons, intending to cut 10% of the workforce to reduce a deficit. It’s this radical plan and potential further revelations which the GMB would like to have sight of in the non-abridged public version of their 5 year plan as we find ourselves unfortunately having to prepare to support our members and Trust staff past their breaking point which this move would surely create.
"It’s a fool’s vision if the Trust believes that outsourcing and privatisation is financially the best options, as in the end it always costs the public purse more and staff their terms and conditions or even employment as they judge profit and loss becoming more important than patient care."
Contact: Gary Palmer 07552 165 950 or Mark Turner GMB Branch Secretary 07860 787 973 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114 762