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East Sussex health staff face pay delays, union claims
9:55am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
A union is warning up to 7,000 employees at a cash-strapped NHS trust face not being paid on time.
The GMB is calling for an enquiry into how East Sussex Health Trust has run into cash flow troubles which has seen them call for government loan assistance.
The trust is responsible for Eastbourne District General and Conquest Hospitals along with smaller facilities across the county.
They agreed a deficit budget of £19.4 million for 2013/14 and were handed a funding loan from the Department of Health in June to ensure they could continue to pay supplies and staff.
However, despite this, the GMB union is warning there is a “realistic possibility” the trust’s staff – which number 7,000 – could still face not being paid on time.
Gary Palmer, GMB organiser, said: “They have claimed they will prioritise paying staff but they shouldn’t even need to do this.
“A business would never be allowed to run like this and nor should a hospital.
“It is clear Darren Grayson – the trust’s chief executive – doesn’t know what he is doing. His position is untenable.”
He added: “Staff members are doing an incredible job in difficult conditions.
“They don’t need to be worrying about whether or not they are going to be paid at the end of the month.”
A spokesman for the trust said there was “no prospect” of staff not being paid and described the union’s statement as “misguided”.
He added: “It is inflammatory and should be seen in the context of their plans to recruit new members or poach members from other trade unions.
“The total income available to the trust has reduced this year by £30 million. We are working with the NHS Trust Development Authority to find a solution that ensures we can continue to provide high quality, safe and sustainable services to people in East Sussex.”
The union is also backing government plans for the trust to be paired up with a successfully managed trust.
A spokesman said: “Perhaps it’s time for them to seriously consider the government’s new plan.
“This might assist in resolving the current severe shortage of nursing staff, health care assistants and rapid support teams at both hospitals.
“This could lead to saving on the expensive agency costs being incurred.”
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