PORTSMOUTH’S hospital trust has sacked 75 staff over sickness absence or performance conduct problems.
A workforce performance report has shown that 56 dismissals at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in 2010/11 related to sickness absence, while 16 people were dismissed for conduct issues, and a further three for capability and performance issues.
Four people who were likely to be dismissed, resigned before their hearings.
The workforce report said that a renewed emphasis had been placed on the ‘robust management of employee relations cases’, and a new team had been set up to specifically reduce sickness rates and train managers to manage sickness absence.
Speaking about the dismissals, Tony Short, the interim associate director of workforce at the hospital trust, said: ‘We’ve dismissed 75 people over the last year for various reasons.
‘But although we’ve dismissed people for being absent through sickness, on a positive note 85 members of staff have been helped back to work after long-term absence.’
In total the hospital trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, reduced its headcount from 6,445 people in March 2010 to 6,093 in March 2011. This helped cut the pay bill from £249m in 2009/10 to £240m in 2010/11.
Mr Short said: ‘Overall the paybill has reduced by £9m from last year.’
But added: ‘We reduced substantive staff by £8m, but still had an issue of temporary staff not reducing as much. We put that down to seasonal demands and we’ve had a quite hectic winter.’
He said efforts would continue to reduce the use of agency staff further.
The workforce report also gave details of employment tribunals.
Thirteen claims were bought against the trust in 2010/11 – compared to an average of five in previous years.
Reasons for the 13 claims last year include discrimination, pay issues and unfair dismissal.
Of the 13, five were withdrawn, one was struck out by the tribunal, one was awarded in favour of the hospital and one in favour of the claimant. Five are outstanding.
The hospital trust says it believes the rise in claims last year could be down to the improved management of disciplinary, absence and capability cases.