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NHS trusts under fire
A CONSORTIUM of NHS trusts reviewing pay, terms and conditions in the South West has received fresh criticism.
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is among 20 trusts in the region that have joined forces to look at how they can reduce pay costs to achieve a sustainable service for the future.
The move has proved unpopular with staff at the Dorchester hospital, with unions calling on the trust to pull out of the consortium.
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust is also part of the consortium, which has now come under attack from the British Medical Association (BMA).
In a new paper chair of council at the BMA Dr Mark Potter labelled the move short-sighted and said it undermined the national ethos of the NHS.
He said: “If this initiative is allowed to go ahead, other regions are likely to follow suit, taking us further away from a truly national health service.
“We do not want to see skills drain away from certain areas of the country, particularly in more remote regions.
“This is a distraction from serious attempts to address the massive financial challenges facing the NHS.
“Instead of wasting resources on short-term measures for which there is no evidence, and that will only serve to demoralise staff, we should focus on ways to genuinely improve efficiency and quality.”
Dorset County Hospital ’s director for human resources Mark Power defended the trust’s decision to join the consortium at the latest council of governors meeting.
He said the hospital needed to find a solution with ever increasing pay costs set to exceed income in the coming years.
Mr Power also stressed that any proposals or recommendations put forward by the consortium would not be binding and it would be for each individual trust to consider whether they were in the best interests of their hospital before introducing them.
Trust chairman Jeffrey Ellwood added: “We are looking to see if by any chance a group of brains can come up with a solution that our board cannot.”