Monday, April 16, 2007

Health workers face job threat.
Health service workers across Norfolk and the East are preparing themselves for the full impact of a wave of restructuring of the area's NHS. The newly formed Norfolk Primary Care Trust has already shed almost 180 jobs in the process of streamlining the previous five PCTs
into one county-wide entity. In both Great Yarmouth and Waveney, and the rest of Suffolk, significant redundancies are expected, although so far job losses have been minimal. Morale is described as low by union bosses who say the trust's multi-million pound deficits are making
staff fear for their jobs as the inevitable efficiency drives take affect. Health workers were, under the reorganisation, guaranteed their jobs till June. However, as the trust fully implements its plans, redundancies are being described as inevitable. PCT Unison branch officer covering Norfolk, Nigel Burrage, said: "Staff morale is very low, people are insecure about job losses but also over the impact of workload on everybody else that remains. The job losses do not reflect a loss of activity and the workload for everybody else is increasing. It is a very difficult time and we do not know how many jobs will be lost." He added that Norfolk PCT's plans for intermediate care would see further job losses as community hospitals close and beds are lost. "From our point of view, we are concerned that the teams that remain are properly resourced," he said. "There is increasing insecurity across the whole organisation over this process. In addition we have a £47m over spend with turnaround teams from the Department of Health looking at that and it is clear they will be working to save money. The impact of that is more job losses."

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