A BALLOT for industrial action has been threatened unless management at Wirral Hospital Trust changes direction and responds to staff concerns.

A public meeting organised by Wirral MPs heard a litany of complaints from staff, both serving and retired.

Colm Byrne of the RCN nurses union said staff are depressed and morale has crashed.

He said 90% of members would be in support of a ballot for industrial action if the situation didn’t improve.

He said: “Staff don’t feel listened to, particularly clinical staff, the nurses and doctors.

"Even when they have a valid point, it's not necessarily heard at board level or even at a senior level within the trust.”

Dr Roger Ferguson, a former consultant who retired from Arrowe Park Hospital four years ago, claimed staff are working under a "climate of fear".

He said: “I retired earlier than I should have done because I was fed up with the advice doctors and nurses not being listened to by management who had no idea about medicine.

“People are fearful of complaining in case they are disposed of.

"Everybody seems to be working in a climate of fear. I think this needs to addressed.”

Earlier this month senior doctors passed a vote of no confidence in the trust’s chief executive, Len Richards.

The move followed the controversial decision to transfer cardio-vascular services from Arrowe Park to Countess of Chester Hospital.

The meeting, held at Charring Cross Methodist Church on Thursday, was chaired by Wirral MPs Frank Field and Alison McGovern.

Ms McGovern said: “Care is all about one-to-one relationships between the person giving and the person receving care.

"Staff morale is really important.”

A statement from the hospital trust said: “Members of the board of directors attended to hear the views expressed by our staff and were encouraged that staff felt able to say how they felt.

“It was recognised that this is a challenging time for our trust and the NHS as a whole which is why we have committed to work with our staff and their representatives to improve morale and to engage with them to continually improve the care that we provide for our patients.”