Bosses Hit Back Over Nurses’ Threat

Bosses at an under-fire mental health trust have hit back at staff threatening to strike. Nurses passed a vote of no confidence in managers at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and are preparing to vote on strike action over plans to cut 40 out of 160 community nurses.

It came after senior doctors revealed the trust was so short of beds that even patients recommended to be “sectioned” – because they were a risk to themselves or others – were forced to wait before being admitted to hospital.

But senior managers say they plan to increase the overall number of staff by recruiting more social workers and changing the way in which existing staff work. They say this will improve crisis care and ensure the trust meets national guidelines.

Acting chief executive Tracy Ellery said: “I am disappointed that one group of staff have taken this action just three weeks into our three-month consultation to hear staff views on the implementation of changes. During our public consultation, many staff were supportive of the plans. Inevitably, implementing the changes will bring many challenges for our 1,300 dedicated staff. We are, therefore, embarking on a detailed staff consultation programme to ensure everyone is well informed and actively involved in implementing the changes as smoothly as possible.”

According to union bosses, out of the 230 staff affected, 150 members of Unison, the Royal College of Nurses and Amicus voted to oppose the plans.

Consultant psychiatrist Alex Theodossiadis said: “What is recommended is not practical – they want to increase the number of social workers but it is impossible to recruit social workers. Cutting the community nursing staff will put more pressure on a system which is already struggling.”