Changes put mums and babies ‘at risk’

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BOSSES at a Sheffield hospital have been accused of ‘putting mums’ and babies’ lives at risk’ by moving porters out of the city’s biggest maternity wing.

Porters serving the Jessop Wing have been moved to a central base in the neighbouring Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

The move means it takes them longer to get to incidents on the maternity ward, which is now a bridge away.

One member of staff, who didn’t want to be named, told The Star a petition with 120 signatures opposing the change had been handed to management.

The worker said the six Jessop porters have been moved to the Hallamshire’s B floor, where they are now based in a lodge with the general portering team, but are still responsible for dealing with all incidents at the maternity wing.

To attend a job at Jessop, porters now have to take a lift up six levels to G floor, then cross a bridge, the employee added.

“If there wasn’t a bridge, it would be classed as a separate hospital and they wouldn’t be able to do it,” the worker said. “They’re putting lives at risk - basic care isn’t coming into this at all.”

But Kevin O’Regan, the trust’s hotel services director, said no patient safety incidents had been reported following the ‘small change’ to the location of the porters’ base.

“The distance porters have to travel from the Hallamshire Hospital to the Jessop Wing, via an internal covered walkway, is less than the distance between some floors at the Hallamshire, or between some wards at the Northern General and so is no different to how other patients are transported,” he said.

“The change has been made as part of ongoing improvements to ensure we have an efficient, safe and flexible portering service to serve patients.”

He said bosses organised a ‘time and motion study’ to determine whether the change would delay response times.

But the hospital worker said: “It can be busy at different times, so the results wouldn’t necessarily show how long it really would take.”

Around 7,000 babies are born every year in the Jessop Wing.