Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THERE ARE NO PLANS FOR JOB CUTS; Hospital Reshuffle Fears Allayed by Chief

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THERE ARE NO PLANS FOR JOB CUTS; Hospital Reshuffle Fears Allayed by Chief

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH JUDD

THE chief executive of South Tees Hospitals today moved to allay jobs fears, as plans for a major "reshuffle" of hospital wards were revealed.

The Evening Gazette has learned a major shake-up of services at James Cook University Hospital is planned, in a bid to cut the number of beds in wards where there is a lower demand and increase beds where demand for services is increasing, such as neurosciences.

A source within South Tees NHS Foundation Trust told how nursing staff had been taken into a "brutal" meeting last Friday and told 18 beds needed to be "lost" and there would "definitely be job losses" at the Middlesbrough hospital.

The source said: "You can guess the pandemonium after the meeting. There were nurses crying all over the place."

However, Simon Pleydell, chief executive of the trust, stressed this meeting had taken place "out of sequence" ahead of board discussions, and there were currently no plans to make staff redundant.

The chief executive said taking a "proper look" at where beds in low demand areas could be put to better use had not taken place since all of Middlesbrough's hospital services transferred there in 2003, and "technology has moved on since then".

Now, the "discrepancies between high and low demand in certain wards has made us realise we've got to make some of these changes" and "leaving everything the same wasn't a sustainable option," he said.

Using examples of advances in cardiology and orthopaedics, which mean patients' hospital stays have been reduced by more than 50% in some cases, Mr Pleydell said: "Technology does change and patients are not having to stay in hospitals so long now.

"We have known for some time the cardiology unit has more beds than they need and on a regular basis they have been helping out other specialities, particularly during the winter months when the hospital was really busy because of the high numbers of very sick patients admitted. This was not to the detriment of cardiology patients."

He added although there's "a bit of juggling" going on, there would not be significant changes to the number of beds. …

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