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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Furness General Hospital staff switch plans come under fire

A ROW has erupted over plans to merge the roles of hospital porters and heavy duty cleaners, with union officials claiming the proposals put patients at risk.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s Patient Environmental Assistant Services team will include both sets of staff, fully trained to take on each other’s responsibilities where needed.

The GMB said staff switching between cleaning and patient movement will increase the risk of cross-infection contamination at UHMBT sites, including Furness General Hospital.

Responding, UHMBT says terminal cleans – a process used to control the spread of infections, which will be added to porters’ job descriptions – are already carried out by medical staff without posing any danger.

But, Steve Gibbons, GMB northern regional organiser, said: “Nurses go to university and get a degree, and get paid far in excess of these people. If they want to pay them nurses’ rates and give them nurses’ training, fine, but these are some of the lowest paid people in the hospital.’’

Mr Gibbons said there was nothing in UHMBT’s proposals to suggest job losses could be an issue, but it could become one in the long term.

He claimed the change could lead to decisions not to compensate for staff sickness and absence, and will eventually lead to the 20 porters at FGH becoming more and more stretched.

But UHMBT said porters’ and cleaners’ duties would remain predominantly the same, with the extra training simply allowing them to work more flexibly.

Juliet Walters, UHMBT chief operating officer, said: “Ensuring terminal cleans are carried out as soon as possible following an outbreak is essential – not only to remove all traces of the infection from the ward area, but also to open up the beds quickly for another patient to use.

“Currently, terminal cleans are carried out by nurses and the ward-based domestic staff member. Increasing that staff base to include porters will mean there is a bigger pool of staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to carry out this important task.”

Ms Walters said porters would be fully trained to use personal protective equipment when doing cleans, to prevent cross-contamination.

Have your say

Either there is true incompetence with the way the trust is run, or there is an agenda to run the trusts's activities down ahead of the GP led changes, or there is simply a 'wind up operation' in play so managers can justify their positions... salaries and pensions OR there is a plan created long ago being put into place to deliver this trust into private hands.

Strange things happen. Anne Burns revealed recently, in this very paper, that the Academy for Barrow was planned as far back as 2000 years before that plan was made public. Anne Burns did not plan this herself nor implement the plan so there must have been a cabal of publicly funded employees doing the secretive work and similar secretive work appears to have been carried out in this trust.

Posted by Tony on 11 March 2013 at 09:01

Once again, cost cutting before patient care. When will they learn?

Posted by Florence on 9 March 2013 at 14:15

View all 3 comments on this article

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