Staff shortages at city hospital leads to patient transfers

PATIENTS requiring emergency surgery at a Glasgow hospital had to be transferred to other city hospitals ­because of major staff shortages.

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Some 50 theatres nurses at Gartnavel General have been refusing to provide weekend cover because of a row over on-call payments.

Staff say doctors at the ­receiving hospitals had not been briefed about the situation and were unprepared for the influx of emergency patients.

One patient is understood to have been transferred to the Royal Infirmary and then turned away and sent to the Southern General on the weekend of February 8-9.

The row has centred on reduction in on-call payments for staff from £50 to £17, which has already been in place in other hospitals, under national guidelines.

However, staff say Gartnavel managers introduced the new policy on December 1, last year, but staff were only informed the day before payday on January 26.

Workers lodged a grievance claiming the policy was introduced illegally because they were not given 90 days notice about the changes and worked over the festive period assuming they would be earning the higher payments.

One nurse said: "That weekend at Gartnavel was a disaster as management had not informed other hospitals that we had no call teams for emergency surgery, so a patient was transferred from the Royal Infirmary to Gartnavel to then have to be sent to the Southern General."

Union leaders Unison have been working with management, which has now agreed to pay staff what is owed to them.

A Health Board spokeswoman said: "As a result of close working with our trades union partners the weekend on call theatre team at Gartnavel General Hospital returned on Friday, February 14."


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