NURSES, doctors and healthcare assistants at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust could face losing thousands of pounds from their salaries if their jobs are down-banded.

Employees at the troubled Trust, which is more than £12 million in debt and must save £50 million in the next three years, are currently being told the extent of the proposals in meetings held by managers with each department.

The proposals include making staff re-apply for their jobs at a lower band, which could cost them thousands of pounds from their annual salary.

A band six nurse, currently earning the top band sum of £34,189 could lose £6,924 per year if they are down-banded to the top scale of band five.

If they are down-banded from the top scale of band six to a starting band five salary, they stand to lose £13,013 per year.

Staff have not yet been down-banded but as part of the ongoing 90-day consultation each department is being informed of the changes and the roles that will be affected.

In November, the Trust, which employs 5,300 staff, announced 500 jobs could be lost and bosses said they could not rule out compulsory redundancies.

They also announced a further 1,685 employees could also lose their jobs and be forced to reapply for their positions on “revised terms and conditions”, which could mean changes in hours, pay and responsibility.

Of the Trust’s 2,489 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, just under half — 1,450 staff — could be affected by the down-banding.

Out of the Trust’s 323 medical staff, more than two-thirds — 235 staff — could be affected by the changes.

Discussions are currently ongoing, with each department being told how many positions are at risk under the restructure.

The proposals for job cuts and down-banding will not be enforced until after March.

It is thought staff affected will have to re-apply for their jobs but until the consultation is concluded it is not known how this will work.

In a letter to Staff Side, which represents employees, the Trust said staff would be selected for redundancy based on an “objective selection criteria” and individual workers would then be consulted about alternative employment and ways their redundancy could be avoided.

The 90-day consultation period, which was started on November 14, had to be re-started on December 14 after unions complained they had not had enough information from the Trust.

About a dozen clerical staff, who were hired on temporary contracts, were told just days before Christmas their jobs would not be renewed.

Harry Hanley, secretary of Staff Side, said it would be holding meetings with staff about the proposals once all employees had been informed about the changes from managers.

He added: “At this moment in time we are still in discussions with the Trust.

“There is going to be down-banding and people are going to be losing a lot of money and considering they haven’t had a pay rise in the last three years this is going to make it even worse.”

Heather Edwards, head of communications at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A range of proposals is being consulted on with staff.

“Some of these include different ways of working and/or changes to job descriptions and therefore these will be reasessed for banding in line with the national guidance under Agenda for Change.

“It is not possible to say at this point how many posts will be affected in this way, nor to give a final number of reductions in posts.”