Demands on staff in savings push

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Faced with a growing funding crisis, Argyll and Bute health bosses have brought in emergency measures known as ‘Grip and Control’, meaning that all non-essential spending stops and decisions on expenditure will be taken by senior staff.

But Grip and Control along with but an ongoing demand to find ways of saving money adds up to extra pressure for staff already carrying out their day-to-day duties.

Kevin McIntosh of the public sector trade union UNISON said at the January meeting of Argyll and Bute Integration Joint Board – the group overseeing health and social care in the region: ‘My concern is for staff.

‘While recognising the need for and supporting all the recommendations, instructing officers and service managers responsible Grip and Control activities to get us on an even keel, I am wondering whether the staff in these service areas will have time to do this out while carrying out these other savings measures and engaging with other staff members – all while carrying out the day job.

‘The timescales are very tight with regards to what is expected of people and that exerts a huge pressure on staff responsible for coming up with results.

‘It may be partly due to some of these pressures that the savings measures so far have been unsuccessful. Is there a risk in all of that? There surely must be and we should be recognising that.’

Joanna MacDonald, chief officer of the HSCP, said: ‘All of the team who are sitting round this table are putting in tremendous hours across Argyll and Bute. All of the managers come in every day to do their best and they are finding it quite exhausting, so there is a risk to staff.

‘It is important we support staff health and well-being. There is also a lack of clarity and the uncertainty isn’t good.

‘We welcome these papers coming to the IJB, but it is a lot of work for our staff.’