HC Deb 01 March 1984 vol 55 cc340-1W
Mr. Frank Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list for the Wirral area health authority (a) the number of full-time and part-time workers in the authority's employment for each year since 1979 and (b) the number of job losses, expressed as full-lime equivalents, for each year since 1979; and if he will break down the data in (b) above according to the normal classification of job within the health authority.

Mr. John Patten

The numbers of staff, in whole -time equivalents, employed by the Wirral health authority in the years 1979–83 are analysed in the following table. Corresponding whole-time and part-time totals are not readily available.

(3) if he will make a statement on the dispute which has arisen on Merseyside concerning the proposed reorganisation of the blood transfusion service, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside.

Mr. John Patten

The Mersey regional health authority proposed last autumn to reorganise its blood transfusion service, which provides a service to Merseyside and North Wales. The two main elements of the proposals are the creation of two blood collection teams based in Caernarvon and Wrexham-Mold and the establishment of a new donor suite in central Liverpool. North Wales has hitherto been served by mobile teams based in Liverpool. The RHA considers that teams based in North Wales will tap the potential for recruiting additional donors more effectively than the existing arrangements. The donor suite will replace increasingly unproductive sessions held at a number of locations in Liverpool city centre.

The proposals were discussed with the staff side on four separate occasions between November 1983 and early February and an information sheet was sent to all staff affected by the proposals in mid-November. The staff side registered its disagreement with the proposals in December and from 9 to 27 February took industrial action in the form of a "work to contract" which had the effect of reducing the amount of blood collected each day by about half. This action has now been suspended to enable further discussions to take place.

At present 80 people are employed in the blood transfusion service. The effect of the proposals is to reduce the number of whole-time equivalent posts based in Liverpool to 64 and to create 24 new jobs in North Wales. These new jobs would be part-time in the first instance, but are likely to become full-time over a 12-month period. The net effect will be an increase of eight whole-time equivalent posts. The RHA originally proposed to staff the new donor suite on a part-time basis, but is now prepared to modify its proposals to create more full-time jobs in Liverpool. Changes will be achieved through natural wastage and the RHA has given a guarantee of no compulsory redundancy.

I hope that renewed talks will result in a resolution of the dispute.

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