Strike call at NHS trust

Pinderfields Hospital general view
Pinderfields Hospital general view
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A CASH-strapped health trust is under fire for spending £2.6m on a private consultancy firm while cutting jobs to save cash.

A ballot for industrial action is being organised at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields Hospital, over redundancies and wage cuts in a review of admin and clerical staffing.

Medical secretaries are among up to 55 staff who face the axe as Mid Yorkshire tries to plug a budget deficit expected to be £26m by end of the year.

Unison’s Adrian O’Malley said provisional redundancy notices had been handed out.

He said: “I’ve got distraught staff members coming into my office crying.”

Union officials have questioned the trust’s financial management after Mid Yorkshire trust spent £2.64m on Ernst and Young, a company brought in to help cut costs, since last December - cash they say could have saved jobs.

And they are furious after it emerged that the decision to bring in Ernst and Young was made behind closed doors at a private board meeting. Mid Yorkshire said commercial sensitive matters were often discussed in private.

Unison also asked for a public report on the effectiveness of Ernst and Young. The trust said there were no plans to do this.

Mr O’Malley added: “We want to know how much more they are going to spend on this company.”

In May, the Express revealed that spending on Ernst and Young had reached £1.2m. The trust then spent £476,000 in May and £971,438 in July and August and on the company, its financial records show.

Mid Yorkshire said in a statement: “It is not the intention to use Ernst and Young for an indefinite period, but it is essential that the trust has the capacity and capability to deliver its very challenging objectives.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “It’s baffling that they have got money to spend on outside agencies with exorbitant costs while services are being impacted by the loss of jobs.

“It would be best if the hospital trust would publish the purpose of this spending so the public and patients can restore confidence in the trust.”