Talks halt first wave of redundancies
16 January 2013
More than a dozen medical posts at an NHS trust have been saved from redundancy following lengthy BMA negotiations.
Ten staff, associate specialist and specialty doctor and four dentist roles were put at risk of redundancy by Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust last March.
The posts were among a total of 160 roles slated for redundancy as part of cost-cutting plans triggered by a drop in hospital activity.
But in talks lasting almost a year, the local negotiating committee managed to argue successfully that the trust was unable to justify the redundancies spread across gynaecology, ENT, oral maxillo-facial and general surgery.
All but one of these 14 roles has now been saved. The one redundancy was voluntary.
However, up to six other surgical SAS posts could still be affected by trust plans for change.
BMA staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee chair Radhakrishna Shanbhag welcomed the success so far, and urged employers not to see SAS doctors as soft targets for future efficiency gains.
He said: ‘I would hope that employers would see sense in engaging with the profession to prevent such events.’
Trust LNC chair Andrew Rowland, a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine, said committee members had worked hard to represent colleagues at a difficult time.
He said he was pleased current negotiations had ended without any compulsory redundancies.
He added: ‘I’d like to thank all of the members of the LNC, and the medical staff in the trust, for all of their support over the past 10 months of negotiations.’
A trust spokesperson said the reduction in patient numbers had had an impact on the services commissioned and the trust’s income.
She said as a result of the ‘very open, positive and constructive consultation’ with medical staff a number of changes were made to initial plans.
She added: ‘We will conclude the final collective consultation around surgery posts on January 18. Depending on the outcome, up to six [SAS grade] doctor posts may be affected.’