Job checks for Cornwall's senior nursing staff

Health unions in Cornwall have said they are concerned that senior nursing staff are to undergo job assessments.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) has asked Grade 7 staff and above to take part. They could be redeployed if they do not pass.

The trust said it was designed to simplify its nursing structure and there would be no redundancies.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said there had been no consultation with staff or unions.

Sue Matthews, from the RCN, said: "There's a major question mark around why the trust has decided that these staff need to go through a formal assessment to help them identify what they need to do their job in the future when that should have been going on already.

"We want to establish what the issues are that the RCHT is trying to address."

'Unsettling time'

She said the news of the assessments had come "out of the blue" and it was a "very unsettling time" for the nurses involved.

The group being assessed includes about 100 ward sisters, matrons and senior matrons.

Christine Rashleigh, the trust's director of nursing, said a four week consultation was underway about the assessments and staff would have the opportunity to have their say.

"We're making sure we're fit as an organisation to move forward.

"Part of that is ensuring we've got the right people in the right posts to lead our staff," she said.

Mrs Rashleigh said the exercise was "not about saving money".

She said staff who failed the assessment would be "potentially redeployed into another position".

The assessment exercises are due to begin in about five weeks.

The RCHT runs the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, St Michael's Hospital in Hayle and the West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance.

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