L&D could face hefty bill from royal wedding

A SENIOR national union leader has urged hospitals to pay staff overtime on the royal wedding bank holiday – a move which could put a significant dent in the L&D Hospital’s budget.

At present, hospitals haven’t received any directives on how to compensate staff working the one-off bank holiday on April 29 and hospital officials say “a number of options are being looked at”.

But Mike Jackson, a senior officer for UNISON, believes hard-working doctors and nurses deserve a reward for working while the rest of the country is at leisure.

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Mr Jackson, whose union represents nearly 500,000 NHS employees, said: “It’s only fair to pay hospital workers a little bit extra, for coming in and keeping essential health services running on the royal wedding day.”

At present, NHS staff are entitled to extra pay on eight annual public holidays, but the unprecedented ‘extra day’ granted to celebrate Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton has left both hospitals and workers in a state of flux.

The L&D employs approximately 3,000 staff -–1,400 of these are clinical.

However, the hospital was unable to provide a figure for how many staff will be needed on April 29, but claimed it would be “fully prepared” to care for patients.

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A spokesperson said: “As yet there is no national agreement in place for the NHS with regard to working arrangements on 29th April which has been declared a public holiday.

“At the L&D, we have therefore started discussions locally with staff and trades union representatives in order to work out the most appropriate solution for staff and in order to ensure that hospital services continue to operate for the benefit of patients.

Mr Jackson added: “There is not much for staff to celebrate in the NHS at the moment, with the prospect of a two-year pay freeze and job cuts looming large.”

“Health services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a number of trusts in England have now agreed to pay staff at bank holiday rates.

“We are calling on all the other hospital trusts in England to join in this fair treatment.”