PLANNED operations at Warrington Hospital have had to be cancelled due continued industrial action by theatre staff over a terms and conditions dispute lasting more than four years.
Seven operations had to be postponed today (Friday) with a further 10 on Monday (Sept 4).
Jan Ross, Acting Chief Operating Officer at the hospital said: “We are very disappointed that we have still not been able to resolve the ongoing dispute with a small number of our Warrington Theatre staff, despite a fifth offer being made yesterday, August 31.
“We sincerely apologise to our patients that have been directly affected by the industrial action by having their procedures rescheduled. We have attempted to mitigate all notified strike action in advance to minimise disruption to patients, however a further 7 patients have been rescheduled by this afternoon’s strike, a further 10 patients by Monday 4th September’s planned 24-hour stoppage.
“We remain hopeful of finding a mutual agreeable solution and, as throughout, our offer remains on the table; however we cannot allow the marked inequality in pay and conditions enjoyed by 0.5% of our 4,200 strong workforce to continue.”
There are no patient safety issues related to this action – this is an action purely related to pay and terms & conditions.
Planned industrial action as notified by UNITE: 24 hour stoppage from 00:001: is set to take place on the following dates.
This will only affect procedures carried out at Warrington Hospital. Halton and CMTC hospitals are not affected.
But Warrington Theatre staff have notified the Trust of their intention to cease the ongoing overtime ban with immediate effect.
The outstanding issues are:
• Operating Department Practitioners want a contractual agreement to be rostered to work no more than one in 4 weekends – this is outside the Agenda for Change terms and conditions and not in any of our other staff contracts. The Trust has offered no more than 1 in 3 weekends up to March 2018 while we review the rostering practice in theatres (non-contractual)
• Operating Department Practitioners want paid overtime if they are unable to take their breaks. The Trust has re-affirmed that ALL staff should have their breaks from a health and wellbeing perspective as well as being law under EWTD. The Trust commits that in the event that breaks were disturbed it would re-start the break allocation later in the shift or offer time off in lieu. As only life or limb-threatening or emergency procedures should be carried out at night under NCEPOD guidance, this appears to be completely possible. Data provided by UNITE demonstrates that on an average night ODPs perform <1 activity per night.
• The Trust has proposed the establishment of a partnership working group including reporting structures and membership (Unite regional officer to join this group).