Strikes risk staff shortage at Lincolnshire hospitals

Potential strike action could cause a “significant risk” of further staff shortages, hospital board members have been told.

A number of NHS unions are in the process of balloting workers across England and Wales, arguing that an average offered 4.75 per cent pay rise would be a real-terms pay cut with inflation running at 10.1 per cent..

They include Unison, the largest health union, and the Royal College of Nursing.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust Chief Executive Andrew Morgan told the trust’s board on Tuesday morning: “I’m getting regular letters now from the various national unions advising me they are now in dispute with the trust because we’re statutorily the employer even though pay rates are set nationally.”

He asked his fellow members what they were doing to prepare in case strike action did take place.

Claire Low, director of people and organisational development, said the trust’s strike action plan had been updated and was due to be scrutinised at a committee later this month.

She said a further task and finish group had been created to look at the issue in more detail and that it had linked in with national colleagues for further briefings.

“Depending on the ballots, not only will we need a local system approach but also more importantly we need to look what are we doing as a trust in terms of concerns such as staffing vacancies [which ]will cause some significant risk.

“We are spending a considerable amount of the agenda time… to ensure we have everything in place,” she said.