Fifteen secretarial jobs to go at Trust

LETTERS from consultants to patients will be typed up in India causing 15 medical secretary posts to go. East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital, announced this week that the 15 full-time posts will be covered through voluntary

LETTERS from consultants to patients will be typed up in India causing 15 medical secretary posts to go.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital, announced this week that the 15 full-time posts will be covered through voluntary redundancies - involving 21 full and part-time staff.

The Trust has also confirmed the names of the two companies who between them will provide the remote medical transcription service.

Alden and DictateIT are based in the UK although their dictation services are based in India.


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The Trust said the move is expected to save £800,000 a year once up and running - although back in March chief executive Nick Carver said he hoped the change would save as much as £1million.

The announcement came just weeks after additional cost saving measures at the Trust were agreed including job cuts, ward closures, removal of London weighting, shared service plans and cuts to consultants' pay.

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Speaking about the medical secretaries' redundancies, one secretary told The Comet: "They are saying 15 now but we all expect a second wave of redundancies later on.

"With just 15 posts going I do not see how this will save them much money. The new outsourced system will not save any more time.

"Everyone is keeping their heads down and hoping it will all go away - but it won't.

"They are looking to get rid of the wrong people - they need to lose directors. I thought Nick Carver was brought in to sort the situation out, I don't understand what is going on.

"No one is coming forward and taking responsibility. They are closing wards and cutting consultants' money. They are going to lose good consultants through this as many are already looking for new jobs.

"All the medical secretaries feel the same way. Everyone is hacked off."

The chosen companies will now work with a project team from the Trust - installing the equipment and training consultants and their medical secretaries in its use.

The Trust's director of human resources Danny Mortimer said: "Through more vacancies arising during the last few weeks, along with redeployment opportunities, we have ended up needing to cover just 15 posts through redundancy.

"We received more people wanting to take voluntary redundancy than we actually could accept, which means that we can manage this change in a far less disruptive manner than might have been the case otherwise.

"We are satisfied that both companies will provide us with a highly professional service that will work very effectively, based on a number of set quality and security safeguards being in place.

"So not only will patients' confidentiality be maintained at all times, letters dictated by our doctors will be typed up promptly ready for checking.

"Once the new service is in place, we will still be employing over two thirds of the medical secretaries that we do now. More of their time, however, will be spent supporting consultants and their teams, as well as enquiries received from GPs and patients.

"We believe that at significantly reduced cost to the Trust, this new service will result in as good a service as is the case currently."

Those medical secretaries taking voluntary redundancy will leave the Trust between September and November.

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