Midwives have reacted angrily to being told by text message their hours are being cut at a hospital in Somerset.
The group of midwives at Yeovil District Hospital each received the message saying their day shifts were being cut by just over two hours.
The hospital confirmed it had changed the hours of its bank midwives and said it was “unfortunate” they had received the news via a text.
One midwife told BBC Somerset the text message said bank hours were being cut with immediate effect.
She said: “There are about ten or 12 of us at the hospital who just work bank shifts, and then there are also some midwives who work part time and then top up their pay with bank hours. This will have an impact on all of us.
“We’ve had no other information about this apart from the text message, which will have been sent by the ward clerk.
“I am cross that myself and my colleagues have been treated this way and puzzled why anybody would consider this an appropriate way to communicate with staff, who are supposedly valuable members of the team.”
The group are classified as ‘bank midwives’, which are often paid to fill in where there is a staffing shortage over such things as work pressures, sickness or holiday.
The hours for bank staff have been changed to 7.15am-1pm for an early shift and 3-8.45pm for a late shift.
According to the midwife, the early shift previously finished at 3.15pm and the late shift started at 12.45pm.
In response, a hospital spokesperson told the BBC: “Yeovil District Hospital can confirm that we have reorganised the hours that our bank midwives work.
“To ensure we continue providing high-quality patient care we need to make the best use of our finances.
“We were aware that bank staff were being employed on longer shifts than were necessary as they were doubling up with our permanent staff for up to one-and-a-half hours on each shift, which was not best use of our resources.
“It was unfortunate that a member of staff at the meeting decided to text colleagues before management had an opportunity to meet with the midwives and explain the situation to them.”