Hundreds of staff at a hospital trust have been left out of pocket after problems introducing the electronic staff record.

United Bristol Healthcare trust, which has 6,000 staff, is struggling to sort out payroll issues. Many of the wrong payments involve staff who do bank shifts or get payments for working antisocial hours.

The trust has set up a new reporting system to help resolve any outstanding issues, with a team of three dedicated to dealing with these queries, and has asked people to email the payroll department rather than visiting its offices or phoning.

Unison branch secretary Sue Nash claimed some staff had been forced to get bank loans to meet mortgage payments and in some cases people had not initially received any pay.

She said: "It has been a huge issue for us and we have been working with the trust, which has promised to act within 24 hours if a staff member gets no pay, and within three days if a significant part of their wages is missing."

A trust spokesman said: "The new system is working well, with 110 queries resolved of the 250 received in the first week of operation.

"All staff have now been paid. There were a small number of people who did not receive their full pay. These staff were given cash advances and we launched the query system to ensure that we could quickly resolve these issues."

The spokesman added that the trust was not aware of any staff members who had received no pay and would make emergency loans available to anyone facing difficulties.

The problems at Bristol come after a year in which the NHS has been plagued with payroll issues. Some of these have involved teething problems with the electronic staff record, which has been rolled out across the health service, but others have involved contractors who provide payroll administration for NHS organisations.

Last November, HSJ reported how North Bristol trust had overpaid staff by£160,000 and was trying to recover the money. It blamed staff being unfamiliar with the new electronic staff record for the problems.

And Birmingham East and North primary care trust was forced to write off£200,000 in overpayments, blaming errors by its payroll provider University Hospital Birmingham foundation trust. It is still in discussion with the foundation trust about recovering the money.

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