Hospital theatre nurses avert pay cut

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Great Western Hospital The Great Western Hospital

THE threat of a 19 per cent pay cut for up to 50 operating theatre staff at Great Western Hospital has been ended after plans to demote nurses were shelved.

Under plans first presented to staff in October 2013, senior nurses and operating department practitioners would have had to re-apply to keep their current jobs.

Those unsuccessful would have had their pay cut by up to 19 per cent, or just over £6,500 a year on their basic salary.

Following months of talks with staff and public sector union UNISON, the trust yesterday ended the process and announced no demotions would take place.

Michael Sweetman, the UNISON Area Organiser, said: “Our members in the operating theatre were overwhelmingly opposed to this idea.

“We are delighted that managers have decided to listen to their staff in time to avoid what could have become an unpleasant dispute.

“We look forward to working with the trust on ways to improve the department now that the threat of demotion is no longer hanging over the staff’s heads.

“Right now the staff will just be feeling a sense of relief, and we are celebrating a victory for NHS workers which shows that trade union organisation still works as well as ever.”

Oonagh Fitzgerald, Director of Workforce and Education at the GWH, said:  “We have spent several months talking to staff in theatres looking at how we can change the way we work to support better patient care. After listening to staff it was clear we needed to implement some of the proposals and not others. Some of the proposed improvements which will go ahead include strengthening the leadership and clarifying roles within the teams.

“Our theatre staff are a vital part of the hospital and we value the important work they do for patients. That is why we are always keen to listen to staff when we develop any proposals to change the way we work.

“The demands facing hospitals like ours mean that services cannot stand still and we need to develop and change the way we work to meet the tough challenges the NHS is facing. We will be meeting with theatre teams over the next few weeks to discuss how theatres will work in the future.”

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