Somerset

Yeovil hospital midwives get 'hours cut' text message

Midwives at a hospital in Somerset have received a text message to tell them their hours are being cut.

The group of bank midwives at Yeovil District Hospital each received the message saying their day shifts were being cut by just over two hours.

It is believed the message was sent by a ward clerk at the hospital.

The hospital confirmed it had changed the hours of its bank midwives and said it was "unfortunate" they had received the news via a text.

Bank midwives are often paid to fill in where there is a staffing shortage over such things as work pressures, sickness or holiday.

'Treated this way'

One midwife, who wanted to remain anonymous, told BBC Somerset the text message said bank hours were being cut with immediate effect.

"There are about 10 or 12 of us at the hospital who just work bank shifts, and then there are also some midwives who work part time and then top up their pay with bank hours.

"This will have an impact on all of us," she said.

"We've had no other information about this apart from the text message, which will have been sent by the ward clerk.

"[I am] cross that myself and my colleagues have been treated this way and puzzled why anybody would consider this an appropriate way to communicate with staff, who are supposedly valuable members of the team."

The hours for bank staff have been changed to 07:15-13:00 for an early shift and 15:00-20:45 for a late shift.

According to the midwife, the early shift previously finished at 15:15 and the late shift started at 12:45.

'Doubling up'

In response, a hospital spokesperson said: "Yeovil District Hospital can confirm that we have reorganised the hours that our bank midwives work.

"To ensure we continue providing high-quality patient care we need to make the best use of our finances.

"We were aware that bank staff were being employed on longer shifts than were necessary as they were doubling up with our permanent staff for up to one-and-a-half hours on each shift, which was not best use of our resources.

"It was unfortunate that a member of staff at the meeting decided to text colleagues before management had an opportunity to meet with the midwives and explain the situation to them."

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