WORKFORCE: Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust is planning to create “ward matrons” in a bid to balance budgets and improve care quality.

Although the position will combine the roles of “ward manager” nurses and matrons, it will be appointed on Agenda for Change pay band 8a – the same as an ordinary matron post.

April board papers say: “Currently ward managers have just one day per week to do their management role. The rest of their time is spent as part of the ward clinical numbers, working to a band 5/6 level.”

Matrons support ward managers in their leadership role, but also coordinate resources, performance monitoring and patient flows across wards.

In the new structure, ward matrons will be supported by senior sisters or charge nurses at pay band 7. Both posts will work throughout the 24-hour period. Currently most ward managers and matrons only work during the day from Monday to Friday.

The trust says that on an average 34-bed ward weekly “leadership capacity” will rise from 22.5 hours to 52.5 hours.

The cost of the plan, due to be implemented by July, is £676,000. This will pay for two assistant heads of nursing on pay band 8a, three band 3 carers, five matrons at band 8a, and 5.9 whole time equivalent staff nurses at band 5.