Service at Barnstaple hospital will be 'as normal' during strike

HEALTH bosses say they are working on contingency plans which will mean business as normal during the planned 48 hour strike at North Devon District Hospital next week. Northern Devon Healthcare Trust is working with contractor Sodexo to minimise the impa

HEALTH bosses say they are working on contingency plans which will mean business as normal during the planned 48 hour strike at North Devon District Hospital next week.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust is working with contractor Sodexo to minimise the impact on patients and visitors to the Barnstaple hospital when almost 200 of its cleaners, caterers and porters go on strike from midnight on Tuesday.

All three parties meet again on Thursday (January 7) to continue negotiations.

The trust says contingency plans mean hospital services will run "very close to normal" and anyone with an appointment should come in as planned.


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"The trust will be using the workforce plan that it has developed for any major internal incident, with staff being asked to work flexibly to ensure that services to patients are disturbed as little as possible," said a spokesman.

"This is what we would do in a major flu outbreak, for example, when a lot of staff might be off sick - perhaps many more than will be off site next week."

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Last week Sodexo staff who are union members voted 97 per cent in favour of industrial action after talks between Unison, the trust and Sodexo failed to reach agreement over demands for sick pay plus better pay and holiday rates.

Unison says the trust should implement a national Agenda for Change agreement signed in 2006 and backdate all rates to that time.

The trust has pledged to increase the value of its Sodexo contract to bring in sick pay and increased annual leave as of January 1.

It has also committed to continue working with Sodexo and Unison towards a final agreement on implementation and timescales, with the assistance of conciliation service ACAS.

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