CANCER nurses at an award-winning unit face the prospect of re-applying for their own jobs after health bosses unveiled more cost-cutting plans.
Senior staff working at the chemotherapy unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool have been told that they will be interviewed for the jobs they are already doing as the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust looks to make more changes to services at the Holdforth Road site.
Bosses have confirmed that staff are being “consulted” about how the unit is staffed, but moved to reassure patients the level of service would not be affected if and when any changes are made.
The Mail revealed in September that the haematology unit at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, was being axed after Trust chiefs drew a blank in their search for new consultants.
Patients were reassured then that the move would have no impact on the existing chemotherapy service at Hartlepool.
But after plans were leaked to the Mail, one staff member has accused Trust bosses Alan Foster and Paul Garvin of treating nurses with “total disrespect”.
Grandmother Brenda Cook, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the end of May last year and spent time at the unit undergoing gruelling bouts of chemotherapy, said it is a “disgrace”.
Brenda, 67, from Hartlepool, said the changes to the unit is a “crying shame”.
The Hartlepool unit has been a regular winner of the Mail’s Pride of Hartlepool awards in recognition of the care and support afforded to cancer patients by nurses.
It has won a special recognition award in the Mail’s Best of Health awards last year after winning the Team of the Year award in the four previous ceremonies.
A spokesperson for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are currently consulting on the team structure of the chemotherapy and haematology service in the trust.
“The changes which have yet to be agreed will have no impact on the nursing care that patients receive.”
Save Our Hospital campaigner Keith Fisher said: “How many times have they told us one thing and then done another?
“When they made the changes at North Tees cancer unit they said it wouldn’t affect Hartlepool.
“This isn’t about saving money, it’s about saving lives.”
It comes after the Mail launched the Bring Them Back campaign which has been more than 10,000 sign a petition calling for services to be returned to the town hospital.