A whistleblower at Southmead Hospital claims hundreds of its zero-hour contract staff are struggling to get any work.
The A&E healthcare assistant says the hospital has cancelled the vast majority of shifts for staff in her role and many nurses, after scheduled surgeries were suspended and some wards closed due to coronavirus.
She told Bristol Live she normally works full-time but is now struggling to get one shift a week – and has been told she is not eligible for furlough because of her zero-hour contract, though the Government’s website says any contract is eligible.
The worker said: “When I rang the staff bank office to ask how we’re meant to support ourselves, they told me we could apply for Universal Credit.
“So much for us being NHS heroes. The people clapping us across the country don’t know what is happening.
“We feel so unsupported by the hospital. I am constantly worried about how I am going to get work. It’s a nightmare.
“Shifts are just being cancelled with no warning. I believe we should be furloughed, but they are point-blank refusing to do it.”
‘Hardly any patients’
She claims “easily” more than 200 employees are in the same situation, including some nurses.
It comes after Bristol City Council’s new director of adult social care Hugh Evans said the city’s hospital bed occupancy was at an “all-time, unforeseeable low”.
The whistleblower has worked at Southmead Hospital for five years on a zero-hour contract, usually earning around £400 a week after tax through three 12-hour shifts.
Read more: Hospital whistleblower exposes what I have been saying for weeks – UK hospitals are near empty and staff have no work. While the nation claps on cue like performing penguins zero-hours hospital staff are struggling to survive