Trade union members at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS trust returned a unanimous vote of no confidence in the trust’s executive directors at an emergency meeting last week.
Consultants (senior doctors) are now conducting a postal ballot of their own members. This is believed to be the first time in any NHS trust that trade unions and consultants have linked up in this way.
Pete Hinchliffe is the convenor of the trust’s central shop stewards committee and branch secretary of the Unison union there.
“We see this as a vote of no confidence from the entire workforce,” he said. “Workers and consultants have many shared concerns over the management’s confrontational style and lack of any meaningful consultation.
“This has led to some appalling results in our annual staff attitude survey. The emphasis on hitting government targets, coupled with severe financial restraints, is having a devastating effect upon morale.
“How can we continue to deliver quality care to our patients under such circumstances? The consultants were very deeply concerned when I was invited to meet with them recently.
“The trust claims to be an open, transparent organisation that fully consults and negotiates with us. But several thousand staff don’t believe it. They are in total denial.”
The Pennine Acute Hospitals trust employs 9,500 staff. It was formed in 2002 from a four-way merger involving hospitals in Bury, Oldham, North Manchester and Rochdale.