Fears of job losses at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital dispelled

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust

Nick Carver, chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

Fears two hospital trusts’ commitment to collaborate will lead to redundancies have been allayed.

The East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage, and the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow have signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ and work has started to highlight areas where closer working relationships may be beneficial, perhaps through clinical collaboration in particular specialities or shared back office support to achieve financial efficiencies.

But the move has made staff uneasy, with concern redundancies are on the horizon. One staff member, who did not want to be identified, said: “With any merger, jobs will be lost. You cannot have two of everything. You will not need two estate departments, two HR departments and two finance departments. Merging these departments is where the trusts will save money.”

But the East and North Herts NHS Trust has said it is not looking to make redundancies. A spokesman said: “We have managed one of the most extensive and far-reaching periods of change in the trust’s history recently, where major changes were made to many of its services that have resulted in significant further improvements in patient outcomes. This was achieved without the need for a redundancy programme.

“This is an approach we will continue to seek to apply for all planned changes going forward. Indeed, both Princess Alexandra and the trust currently are seeking to recruit actively to vacancies, especially for doctors and nurses.”

The clinical areas currently being considered for collaboration are vascular surgery, colorectal surgery, stroke unit, and urology and renal services. Non-clinical areas being considered are estates, finance/payroll, HR/workforce function and the purchasing of goods and services.