Campaigners protesting about cuts to Bassetlaw Hospital’s children’s ward in Worksop say they feel “outraged” after “being blamed” for paediatric staff shortages.
The hospital trust has rejected the claim as members of the Parents Against Cuts to Bassetlaw Children’s Ward group fight to get the ward reopened full-time, after it was closed to overnight admissions.
Demonstrations have included walks from the hospital to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, where children requiring overnight care must now be transferred, and a rally outside Worksop Town Hall.
But activist Ellen King, who met Bassetlaw and Doncaster Teaching Hospitals Trust bosses this week, said she was left “disgusted” when the trust “tried to blame the campaign” for the ward’s struggles.
She said: “The hospital trust chief executive, Richard Parker, reported that the campaign has led to staff questioning whether the trust has a hidden agenda and wondering whether they have a long-term future working at the hospital.
“I wholeheartedly reject this accusation and the public would be right to feel outraged at such a suggestion.
“Issues around job security at the hospital predate this campaign.”
The trust has denied any blame has been placed on the group.
A trust spokesman said: “During the meeting, Mr Parker did not express views that the campaign was in any way responsible for the current issues we are currently experiencing in trying to recruit to the six specialist children’s nurses vacancies at Bassetlaw Hospital.
“Bassetlaw Hospital staff and services are a credit to the trust and to local people.
“It is our priority to ensure prospective and current staff at Bassetlaw Hospital feel the future delivery of services is secure, in order for the team to continue providing excellent care.
“We welcome any support from the campaign to make Bassetlaw Hospital the employer of choice for future healthcare professionals.”