Meeting of minds was useful’

TRADE unionists at the hospital and MPs described a meeting they had on Friday as useful , ahead of a third rally and march this coming Saturday at 11am. The unions complained of low morale in parts of the hospital and new chief executive Mark Millar pro

TRADE unionists at the hospital and MPs described a meeting they had on Friday as "useful", ahead of a third rally and march this coming Saturday at 11am.

The unions complained of low morale in parts of the hospital and new chief executive Mark Millar promised to spend more time in medical departments and on the wards to reassure staff about their future.

Although there are still some posts to be removed as part of the financial rescue plan that is predicted to save at least £14.5million a year, managers believe no further redundancies will be needed. But uncertainty in some employees' minds leaves them open to poaching by adjacent hospital trusts. Widespread haemorrhaging of key staff could put the rescue plan at risk.

After the meeting, which included Mr Millar, trust chairman Sue Smith and MPs Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) and Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire), organiser Mike Gough said: "It was great to hear some constructive dialogue, but I'm still sceptical. It's important that people understand what will go from the hospital into the community. Until we can change expectations we shall have a lot of doubts."

Mr Djanogly said the meeting had shown "the best of Hinchingbrooke, with people working together. The hospital has a very positive future, and a lot of obstacles have been overcome," he added.

Mr Vara said it was vital that Mr Millar, who took over a chief executive at the beginning of April, met as many staff as possible to reassure them about the future.

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Interaction between the interim chief executive Jane Herbert and employees on the ward floor was a deliberate casualty of the race to rescue the hospital from downgrading.

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