“EXHAUSTED” hospital staff will refuse to work extra time after having their hourly wages cut.

Basildon Hospital is cutting bank staff’s hourly rates for general nursing areas to match wages of those working in Southend and Broomfield Hospitals as part of the hospital trusts merging in April next year.

Staff have previously been able to work additional hours in their departments paid by an external company NHS Professionals, but this has now been brought in-house and the rates are set to decrease.

One Basildon Hospital worker claims this will see some staff members have their rates cut by 20 per cent and, as a result, will not work extra hours.

The whistleblower said: “This will leave the wards dangerously short staffed with an already-exhausted workforce. The trust’s solution is they will get agency staff in, which will cost them double the amount with staff that don’t know the wards, patients, policies or staff they are working alongside. Working within the NHS can be extremely challenging with the basic wage not comparable to the blood, sweat and tears that go into it.

“To then cut wages for the extra work that the hospital needs to run and the staff need to live is a joke. It’s another way the bosses have been number crunching yet in the long run it is going to cost them more. - not only in money but patient safety and care.”

Sam Older, Unison eastern regional organiser, said: “UNISON is due to meet senior representatives from the hospitals this week to raise concerns about a number of areas to do with the harmonisation of pay and conditions across the three trusts where staff haven’t had a voice in decision making.

“Basildon Hospital – like Southend, Mid Essex and the rest of the NHS – is struggling to cope with a serious staffing crisis provoked by years of government underfunding, the scrapping of student healthcare bursaries and the Tories’ bungled Brexit negotiations.

“It’s no surprise that staff morale is hitting rock bottom but Basildon shouldn’t be rubbing salt in the wounds of its workers going above and beyond to keep their patients safe.

“If the hospitals want to avoid turning a staffing crisis into a catastrophe they need to offer staff proper overtime rates for working beyond their contractual 37.5 hours to give them a real incentive to pick up more of the slack.

“Relying on a merry-go-round of agency staff will only benefit the companies charging through the nose to supply workers. It certainly won’t benefit the people of Basildon, Southend or Chelmsford.”

A Basildon Hospital spokesman said: “As we work towards becoming a single NHS organisation, we are reviewing our nursing staff bank rates. across our hospital group.

“This has resulted in a change to Basildon bank hourly rates in general nursing areas from 1 April 2019. This is vital so that each one of our hospitals offer the same opportunities for staff who want to work bank shifts.

The changes are intended to ensure our nursing and midwifery staff are paid the same rates for doing the same job no matter which of our three hospital sites they work on. In order to harmonise rates there will be areas where the locally applied hourly rate of pay may go up and may come down. We continue to keep staff supported and regularly updated during this period of change.”