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Temporary staff suffer pay cut at Sandwell and City hospitals

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

Temporary workers at two hospitals have received a pay cut as part of a health trust’s plan to make savings.

Sandwell Hospital

Bank staff at Sandwell and City Hospitals have seen their pay packets hit by up to 20 per cent.

The Sandwell trust that runs the two hospitals have informed those affected of the new pay rates, while bosses have also proposed other radical changes including not not replacing ‘non-critical vacancies’.

The changes have prompted criticism from one member of staff who fears fewer workers will take up overtime, potentially resulting in cancelled operations.

Trust chiefs admitted the pay cut would not be ‘welcome news’.

Bank nurses will earn from £15 an hour at levels five to £19 at level seven.

A letter to workers staff from Raffaela Goodby, executive director of people and organisation development, seen by the Express & Star, said: “Given that the trust’s pay costs equate to approximately 67 per cent of our total income, I hope you will understand the necessity for us to review each and every pay cost that we have.

“Our approach has been first and foremost to consider and implement the options that will reduce our costs without impacting adversely upon job security.”

It continued: “We have taken the opportunity to standardise the number of levels, ensuring the rates remain competitive and responsive to market forces. We also remain committed to paying no less that the Living Wage foundation hourly rate, which is in line with our commitment to support low-paid workers.”

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City Hospital

Health bosses have previously raised concerns about the trust’s ability to hold on to nurses and other staff, with vacancy rates having been high over recent years.

A worker based in Sandwell’s operating theatres, who asked to remain anonymous, hit out at the cost-cutting move.

The worker said: “This is as we enter the busiest time of the year when hospitals are under the greatest pressure.

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“I work in the operating theatres where we are chronically understaffed due to staff leaving, failure of management to recruit replacements and refusal to pay for agency staff. Add to this high sickness levels and the result is barely safe working conditions.”

Ms Goodby told the Express & Star said; “Trust bank employees are an important and valued part of our workforce. We offer competitive rates of pay to staff working on the trust bank, and have decided to bring this more in line with other similar organisations in the area but have ensured these remain competitive. We also remain committed to paying at least the Living Wage foundation hourly rate.”

Sandwell and City Hospital have struggled to get enough people seen on time in A&E in recent weeks amid the current NHS winter crisis. Its four-hour waiting time performance was 78 per cent last month, way down on the 95 per cent national target.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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