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Friday, 28 November 2014

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'Work in Carlisle or lose your jobs'

DEVASTATED outpatient appointment staff at the West Cumberland Hospital face losing their jobs if they don’t agree to travel to Carlisle under new plans.

By Julie Morgan

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the West Cumberland Hospital, wants to introduce centralised appointment bookings at a new centre on an industrial estate, north Carlisle.

In a consultation document obtained by The Whitehaven News, the Trust says refusal by any of the 17 to make the daily 80-mile-round journey could be deemed a resignation as it is “reasonable travel distance’’.

The Trust says centralised bookings will “improve patient experience’’ and is consulting with the staff over the move. But one employee, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “Staff are completely devastated by the news. This has made them feel worthless.

“These latest plans aren’t a choice. It is unlikely the 17 staff will be able to make the journey and could therefore lose their jobs. It is not reasonable to make them travel an extra two hours a day to work.”

The Trust did not respond when the News asked whether staff would be ineligible for redundancy if they refused to move. A spokesperson said: “We have recently begun consultation with our outpatients booking staff at both the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital in order to improve the service we offer patients.

“Whilst the outpatients reception desks in both our hospitals will remain in place and continue to play a vital role, we would also like to introduce a new centralised contact system, similar to the successful model in place at Northumbria Healthcare. With over 250,000 outpatient appointments every single year, this will allow us to standardise booking processes, prevent overbooking and help us ensure that all of our patients have their appointments within nationally recommended timescales. Our aim is to make care as seamless as possible for patients, and having one central point of contact will not only improve patient experience, making it easier for people to access our appointments team, but also means we can implement a robust system to manage all bookings.

“We are working closely with our staff and unions to ensure everyone has the chance to input their views. The proposed changes will offer some career development opportunities for staff and our priority will be to ensure that all those affected continue to have a role within our organisation.”

Have your say

We are losing money because of coding team for not accurately capturing information. Why aren't they coming to Carlisle. Instead they are happy to lose money and no one says anything. All admin should be going to carlisle!

Posted by Business Manager on 21 March 2014 at 15:32

If managers can use taxis to send papers between hospitals, and taxis for managers to travel between them, then perhaps they can provide taxis for staff to travel to and from their new places in Carlisle?

Posted by Orange peel on 18 March 2014 at 07:33

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