Hospitals on strike red alert

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HOSPITALS in Wigan could be thrown into chaos if biomedical science staff go through with plans to strike over changes to pay and working conditions.

Workers in Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s pathology department have been asked to vote on whether to take industrial action in light of changes to pay structures and working practices.

The staff, who are employed by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, conduct all diagnostic tests (such as blood and urine samples) at all three Wigan hospitals.

And should they vote to take industrial action, it could bring all procedures other than emergencies to a halt.

In all, more than 60 staff from Wigan and Salford have been sent ballot forms by the Unite union, with the results due next Tuesday.

Unite regional officer, Gary Owen said: “The trust’s answer to saving money is to give another kick in the teeth to loyal and professional staff.

“As a result of these various elements, some staff have complained of losses in earnings of up to 30% – and this proposed reorganisation will add to that.

“This has meant some of our members have had to re-mortgage their properties, or rent them out and move in with friends and family.

“These are qualified professional healthcare scientists, who provide diagnostic tests on GP samples and on samples from hospital inpatients and outpatients, often in emergency situations that can mean the difference between life and death.”