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Cumbrian hospitals chief defends nurses downgrading review

The boss of north Cumbria’s hospitals has defended a controversial review that will see nurses downgraded.

Ann Farrar photo
Ann Farrar

Related: Up to 50 nurses at north Cumbria's hospitals facing downgrade

Ann Farrar, who runs Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital, said the changes were needed.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is reviewing staffing levels following safety concerns.

The Royal College of Nursing this week called for urgent talks because it fears up to 50 nurses could now be downgraded – from a band 6 to a band 5 – as a result.

Not only would this mean a lower salary, the union is concerned about care levels.

During yesterday’s trust board meeting in Carlisle, John Corsom, a public governor of the trust, asked if it was true nurses were having to apply for their own jobs.

But Mrs Farrar, the trust’s interim chief executive, leapt to the defence of the review.

“There are a small number of nurses affected – they are on a band and there are far too many on that band in this hospital,” she said.

“It means we are paying them to be on a certain band but the actual number we need is less. As taxpayers we really need to ensure people are being paid the right amount for the right grade.”

She stressed the exact levels will be decided as part of a formal staff consultation, which is nearing an end. Human resources director Damien Gallagher said that they have compared staffing levels in Carlisle and Whitehaven to other hospitals.

It revealed Cumbria has the fewest band 5 nurses, those responsible for everyday patient care, of all the trusts in the north west and too many on the higher band 6.

The trust claims that downgrading some of latter would allow more focus on basic care, improve quality and putting North Cumbria in line with the rest of the region.

Mr Gallagher stressed that any drop in salary would be protected for two years.

In that time he added that they would aim to get those downgraded back on to a higher level as vacancies emerge.

Have your say

I work as a band 6 in this hospital and I more than qualify for my grading, position, job, responsibilities etc after 30 years experience.This is what agenda for change dictated for me when I was job matched. I work very hard and am able to give safe, good quality care with my knowledge and experience. We have been treated appallingly by this trust over the last few years.We are all fed up. I for one wont work on a band 5 with band 6 responsibilities and I know of many others who have already left.I am actively looking for something else. Let me tell you this hospital will be no more if the management do not start treating their staff better. You cannot run a hospital if nurses and doctors do not want to work in it. The management will have to roll their sleeves up soon.

Posted by Anon Sorry! on 8 October 2013 at 12:24

Would be more prudent to sort out hospital management weaknesses & car parks than downgrade frontline nurses. More cars parked than number of staff who work at hospital! No spaces for accident victims to park in A & E area. Patients with broken legs etc had to be driven six times round hospital grounds before offloading victim!

NO SMOKING BAN SHOULD BE MONITORED/POLICED BY HOSPITAL EXECUTIVES. Clearly, they are not managing all hospital affairs. For a health repair centre to permit smokers in wheelchairs & others to puff in front of no smoking signs is ridiculous! What about those people with respiratory problems, no consideration at all, not to mention litter.

Posted by healthcarer on 4 October 2013 at 11:54

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