Betsi Cadwaladr scraps controversial nurses rota change

Image caption,
Management consultants have been asked to help improve health services across north Wales

A controversial plan to change nurses rotas to save money has been scrapped by a health board.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) in north Wales proposed not to pay staff for their 30-minute breaks.

Union groups and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) had branded the changes as "unacceptable" but have cancelled a demonstration planned for 7 November.

BCUHB chief executive Gary Doherty said the board was "committed" to finding a way forward with nursing groups.

He added: "While we focus on our partnership working and how to move forward together, we will not progress the proposed changes."

More than 4,500 people signed a petition against the "deeply unpopular" changes which will be discussed at an Extraordinary Local Partnership Meeting on 8 November.

The health board said standardising shift patterns, breaks and handover periods was designed to benefit staff and ensure they could take breaks.

It would also reduce the reliance upon paying for agency staff, the board had said, as it aimed to make £25,000 savings every month.

However BCUHB was criticised for spending more money on a management consultant - £1,1990 a day - than it would save by cutting staff's paid breaks.

Image caption,
Nurses were told their paid 30 minute breaks could be cut

Unite union said the health board's U-turn would be a "huge relief to thousands of nurses and health professionals" affected.

Regional secretary Peter Hughes said: "We expect future consultations to be far more meaningful than has been the case over this divisive issue.

"It is in the interests of all stakeholders, most importantly the patients, that Betsi Cadwaladr can rely on a workforce that feels truly valued and listened to."

The board has been under partial Welsh Government control since being placed in special measures in 2015, following a damning report.

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