Staff morale a growing concern at Hull Royal and Castle Hill hospitals
CONCERNS are growing over morale among staff at the region's main hospitals.
Union officials and health campaigners say morale at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is at "rock bottom" and staff are worried about speaking out for fear of reprisals.
The trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham, is under pressure to save £99 million by 2018, which includes closing wards and reducing the number of staff.
The Save Our NHS Hull and East Yorkshire group, which has launched a petition to save local NHS services, said hospital staff want to add their names to the list but are too scared.
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Group secretary Dermot Rathbone, 44, said: "A number of trust workers wanted to sign but were worried about consequences.
"They said if their name appears, they might be fired because everyone is looking over their shoulder. They should be allowed to have their say."
The group is planning a march through Hull city centre on Saturday, September 22, to demonstrate the level of their concerns.
Mr Rathbone, of Kirk Ella, said opposing "gagging" of staff will now become part of their campaign.
He said: "If you haven't got the skip in your step, that shows and it becomes a spiral of negativity."
A report for the trust board in July states that despite an improvement this year, the trust remains a "poor performer" in the National Staff Survey.
It is currently running the "big conversation" to enable staff to have their say, running short surveys to ask for their opinions and is looking at new ways of engaging with staff.
A member of staff, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's not about patients, delivery of care and how we treat people.
"Targets have become the essence of the organisation."
A survey of more than 1,700 staff in June revealed 80 per cent felt there was room for improvement in effective communication between management and staff.
Jayne Adamson, the trust's chief of workforce and organisational development, said: "We have done an enormous amount of work in recent months to engage with our staff, ask them what they believe gets in the way of success and what they think we can do to improve patient care and the working lives of the people we employ.
"Many of their suggestions are being implemented and we are now working with specific individuals and teams on issues that matter to them. This will be an ongoing piece of work.
"We have conducted surveys so we know how staff felt at the start of this work and we will repeat these regularly so we can see how we are improving.
"We recognise we have work to do to improve staff engagement and we are committed to listening to the views of our staff and acting on their suggestions for change."