Pathology staff at Leeds hospitals to strike over shifts

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PATHOLOGY workers at Leeds hospitals are to strike on Tuesday in a row over working arrangements.

Some scheduled operations due to take place on the day will be postponed, but emergency cover will be maintained.

The row involves changes to terms and conditions for staff, mainly biomedical scientists, who carry out tests vital for the running of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Hospital bosses want to alter working patterns from standard day working and employees 
being on-call on the hospital 
site to a shift working arrangement.

More than 140 workers, based at laboratories at Leeds General Infirmary, St James’s Hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary but employed by Leeds hospitals, are affected.

Managers say the arrangement differs from all other hospitals, but union bosses say staffwin have safety concerns.

Terry Cunliffe, from Unite, said the proposed new shifts were not fit for purpose and not safe.

He said: “We are very sorry that patients are inconvenienced. We are seeking to protect them for a much longer period, for the duration of these shifts. The long term care of these patients we say would be unsafe and we will continue to work with the trust to ensure that patient safety is maintained.”

Dr Yvette Oade, trust medical director, said safety was their top concern and most patients should be seen as normal.

“Some patients, who are scheduled for surgery for example, will be re-booked and we will contact them directly to re-schedule.

“We do apologise for the inconvenience this may cause,” she said.

Dr Philip Wood, clinical director for pathology, added: “Contingencies are being put in place to minimise any disruption to services and unite members have agreed to provide emergency cover on the day.”

Patients who do not hear from the hospital should attend as normal, but a helpline is available on 0113 2064453.

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