Concerns after catering staff duties are handed over to care assistants at Northampton mental health hospitals

St Andrew's Healthcare has made redundancies to its catering team as part of a restructure.
St Andrew's Healthcare has made redundancies to its catering team as part of a restructure.

Workers at a mental health charity feel too much responsibility is being handed to ward staff in Northampton after 11 catering staff were made redundant.

St Andrew’s Healthcare’s catering team prepares about 900 meals for its patients every day.

But late last year the charity, which runs the large mental health hospital off Billing Road, put the jobs of 46 people in the team at risk as part of plans to hand some duties over to healthcare assistants.

The largely taxpayer-funded charity has now confirmed 11 staff have been made redundant in the restructure.

A spokeswoman for St Andrew’s said: “Every person has had the opportunity to either move into a newly created housekeeping role, or into another vacancy within the charity.”

A total of 35 employees took the option of redeployment.

However, staff members have contacted the Chronicle & Echo over concerns ward staff were being handed too much responsibility with limited training.

One source told the Chron healthcare assistants were already struggling with workloads in certain wards.

Others queried why a charity that previously paid its chief executive £328,000 a year would need to cut staff in relatively low-paid roles.

St Andrew’s says all but six per cent of direct care staff have now completed their mandatory hygiene training.

A spokeswoman said: "All staff were reminded of the requirement to complete Level 1 Food Hygiene training prior to the introduction of the changes to food service roles as part of the transition plan, and we have seen compliance rise. As of March 2018, the compliance for our direct care staff is 94.63%."

This week the Care Quality Commision (CQC) said St Andrew's still had a way to go to shake the 'inadequate' rating it was given last year.

CQC inspectors had concerns managers were not supervising frontline staff as well as they should in certain wards.

One of six staff asked whether they had "experienced bullying" reported a case where they felt a colleague had.

The five others reported "positive morale", according to the CQC.