Health board denies threatening staff

NHS Borders has denied telling staff they will lose their jobs if they do not accept a post on lower wages.

The health board, through its redeployment policy which enables staff to move posts within the organisation, has been accused of forcing some employees to take jobs on lower bandings or face the sack.

One NHS Borders worker, who wished not to be named, said: “I realise cuts have to be made, but I am only earning enough to get by at present and cannot afford to drop to a lower banding.”

However, NHS Borders maintain they have a “no compulsory redundancy approach” and protect income levels if an employee’s new post is at a lower banding – as long as they had to move because of an “organisation change”.

A health board spokeswoman added: “NHS Borders’ redeployment policy is in place to enable staff to transfer to other posts, principally with NHS Borders, when they are unable to continue in their previous post as a result of organisational change or ill health.”

The spokeswoman said staff on the register were guaranteed an interview before other applicants, but if unsuccessful may be “allocated” a post which is deemed as a suitable alternative.

NHS Borders chief executive Calum Campbell said changes to the roles staff undertake in the NHS was “inevitable”.

He told us: “Staff on the redeployment register are offered the opportunity to apply for any post which becomes vacant within the organisation for which they have the basic knowledge and skills and they will be given preferential consideration. We will also support them to retrain if necessary.”

Unison regional organiser Ken Seaward told TheSouthern: “It is my feeling that the push to make savings is forcing managers to become aggressive to get staff to agree to unfair changes. This is typical in the history of industrial relations in the Borders.”