Fewer cuts now to health care jobs

The private company taking over community health care services says it has listened to staff and will not be making as many redundancies as originally planned.

Serco has finished a consultation with staff and unions about changes it wants to make to community services, such as those provided by district and community nurses and physiotherapists, and also to rehabilitation services at Hazell Court in Acton Lane, Sudbury.

The news comes after Watch, Sudbury’s health watchdog, announced it had suspended legal action against West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group over the consultation.

Serco plans to centralise admin in a 24-hour call centre at Ipswich, expand service hours from eight hours a day to 12 hours a day, and introduce mobile technology for frontline staff. It says this will increase the amount of time spent with patients, from under 40 per cent to nearer 60 per cent.

Serco spokesman Charles Carr said: “Initially, we estimated these changes would involve a net loss of 137 full-time equivalent posts. But since making these initial plans, we have consulted with our staff, listened to their views, and have now developed our plans further.

“It is now clear that this figure will be considerably lower and there will be a reduction of no more than 90 at most. These staff will not all leave immediately and staff changes will be phased over the coming year.

“It is also clear that through redeployment into different posts, flexible working, reduced working hours, career breaks, early retirement and voluntary redundancy, the total number of compulsory redundancies will be no more than 25 and none of our clinicians will face compulsory redundancy.”