Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is proposing a 30% reduction in community hospital imaging hours.
Stroud Against the Cuts has written a press release in support of our local radiology services and against the cuts being imposed on our community hospitals to this vital service.
We would very much appreciate it if our supporters would come along to Stroud Hospital today at 13:00 (1pm) for a photo which will be in the local newspaper tomorrow to go with the statement.
Radiology Departments in Gloucestershire’s community hospitals are to lose about one third of their hours. An example is that Stroud will lose its Saturday, Sunday and Bank holiday hours. We understand there is a shortage of radiologists, a 24% vacancy rate in our county, higher than the national average. We understand that it is imperative that Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHFT) is able to ensure they have adequate staffing for interventional imaging (minimally-invasive diagnosis and treatment) and this means altering where staff are based.
However, we have concerns.
There is an assumption that community staff will be happy to move hours to the acute hospitals and, having spoken to staff across the county, we are not convinced this is accurate. Those living outside of Gloucester or Cheltenham may have farther to travel; the distance from Moreton’s North Cotswold Hospital (where radiology is being cut from 5 days to 1) to the large hospitals is 40 minutes by road and 70 minutes by bus.
GHFT has reported that they are “looking at a new model of service which will enable a different skill mix within the IR workforce which is less reliant on qualified radiographers”. This raises grave concerns regarding how these staff will be trained and who will mentor them if there are barely enough staff to simply run the departments. It will raise issues of safe practice regarding ionising radiation and how this translates to The Health & Safety Executive guidance.
We are also concerned about lack of consultation. Clearly, the trust has known of these problems for many months and yet only recently briefed the county council scrutiny committee fully, and not all stakeholder groups have been engaged in the process or decision-making, including the public and unions. We understand that GHFT is saying this is a temporary measure but some staff are saying otherwise. As a temporary change, the requirements for the consultation of public and staff are vastly reduced.
Please come along to support your NHS services today at 1
Stroud Against the Cuts