Nottingham

Union fears over Sherwood Forest hospital staff morale

King's Mill Hospital
Image caption In 2006, the trust estimated its King's Mill Hospital PFI project would cost £976m in its 38-year lifetime.

Morale among doctors and nurses at an NHS hospital trust is "extremely low", according to a union.

Unison said managers at Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust were keeping their staff in the dark.

The trust recently revealed its deficit rose by an extra £2m in December, bringing it to £15.5m since April.

Health chiefs said they could understand staff fears but dismissed Unison's accusations.

The debt by the end of the financial year was originally predicted to be £12m but the forecast rose to £22m and has since been pegged back to about £19m.

Coral Jenkins, regional organiser from Unison, said management was not keeping staff up to date, fuelling speculation in the hospital.

She said: "Morale is extremely low and the major contributing factor of that is there is hardly any information being shared with staff by Sherwood Forest hospitals."

But Eric Morton, interim chief executive, denied the claims.

He said: "We are not keeping our staff in the dark and I'm quite disappointed to hear Coral say that."

He added: "When the new chairman and I arrived it was made very clear to us at a number of meetings that actually staff were well up to date on the situation.

"What they were looking for was not to hear more about it but to see some action and we were under no illusion from the staff they wanted us to make progress to try to claw the deficit back."

The trust is now in negotiations with the government over how it is going to fund its future after a private finance initiative was used to pay for the £320m hospital.

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