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Hospital chief pledges U-turn on nurses' Christmas party
9:20am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in News
A HEALTH trust which axed Christmas party funds for hundreds of nurses has decided celebrations will now go ahead.
Yesterday the Oxford Mail revealed about 717 staff working at community hospitals across Oxfordshire had been told a donation of up to £35 each towards a Christmas party would be withdrawn as it did not ‘provide sufficient patient benefit’.
But last night the new chief executive of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Stuart Bell, said he would make sure staff are recognised for their hard work.
A spokesman said: “Oxford Health NHS FT did make changes to the Charitable Funds Guidelines earlier this year to ensure that donations were spent appropriately.
“The reasons for the decision to change the guidelines relating to funds for staff Christmas celebrations were to ensure a consistent approach within the organisation and to support the equitable use of funds across the trust. The trust is absolutely committed to supporting patients and staff to celebrate Christmas and will certainly be making sure that there are arrangements in place that will allow sites/teams to hold celebrations for the benefit of patients and staff.”
Mr Bell added: “We recognise the hard work and dedication of our staff and also how important it is for our staff, and our patients, to be able to celebrate Christmas.
“We will be letting staff know shortly how the trust will be supporting teams to mark the holiday period.”
The news came after the Oxford Mail revealed Julie Waldron, the former chief executive of the trust who was in charge when the decision was made to cut the Christmas payments, saw her salary band increased from £160,000-£165,000 to £165,000- £170,000.
She was this month replaced by Mr Bell. His salary band was not available last night, despite repeated requests.