HEALTH bosses have insisted changes to a ward at Fairfield Hospital in Bury will not impact on jobs or treatment levels.

Staff at the hospital’s elective orthopaedic ward were told at a meeting that the ward was being reduced in size.

A source said: “Following the meeting, staff morale was rock bottom.

“They had just been informed they would have to apply for their own jobs and, if they didn’t keep their job, they could apply to The Royal Oldham Hospital or North Manchester General Hospital.”

Hospital chiefs said the change is part of a review, called Healthy Futures, which was first announced in September, 2010.

Deborah Ashton, divisional director of surgery, explained: “From March this year, orthopaedic trauma patients from Bury needing urgent surgery have been treated by the new specialist orthopaedic team at North Manchester.

“As a temporary measure, 10 orthopaedic beds were retained at Fairfield General to be used when required for the rehabilitation of patients, who lived closer to Fairfield, following surgery at North Manchester General.

“However, due to patients being discharged quicker, we find that these beds are under used and are now no longer required.

“Because the beds were deemed temporary, the timing of withdrawing these beds and the staffing situation has been carefully managed to enable the ward staff to remain within their specialty at either North Manchester or The Royal Oldham.

“We value these staff and will continue to engage with them closely throughout this process.

“Fairfield continues to provide planned (elective) orthopaedic surgery and day care surgery.”