Hospital bosses have explained a planned restructure of neonatal services which could leave nurses facing redundancy.
Plans to reduce the number of nursing jobs on the neonatal units at Pinderfields and Dewsbury Hospitals from around 60 to 50 emerged in a consultation document passed to the Express yesterday.
The number of neonatal cots would also reduce from 12 to 8 at Dewsbury under proposed changes to the service at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.
The document said the proposals would “create a pool of staff where redundancy is a definite possibility” if they went ahead.
Speaking today, Lynne Hall-Bentley, associate director of operations at Mid Yorkshire, said: “Patient care is always our priority and therefore delivering the best possible care for babies and their mothers is of the highest importance.
“Following a review of neonatal services at the Trust, we have begun a consultation with our neonatal staff which will end in mid July.”
Mid Yorkshire plans to open a four-bed transitional care unit at Dewsbury, which would allow mums and babies to stay together to encourage bonding and breast feeding.
The role of nursery nurse would also be replaced with healthcare support workers under the neonatal proposals.
Some nurses would have the opportunity to redeploy into higher-grade nursing positions.
Mrs Hall-Bentley said: “We are also proposing to increase the number of current band 6 staff and reduce the number of band 5 staff, and this change should provide development opportunities for existing staff.
“We would stress that at this stage of the process no formal decisions have been made.
“We have written to all staff who may be affected by these proposed changes. If changes to staffing structures are confirmed, we will work closely with staff to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.”
Affected staff received letters on Saturday advising them of the restructure.
A 45-day consultation on the proposals started on Monday.
Mid Yorkshire said it opened a seven-day neonatal outreach service in January to allow mothers and babies to be discharged sooner.