STAFF who help ensure Glasgow’s hospitals run safely and protect NHS workers from violent patients are facing the axe.

Employees are understood to have been told that six jobs are under threat in the Health and Safety department at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which is said to be already over-stretched.

Staff are responsible for training nurses and medics in the safe moving and handling of patients and helping reduce incidents of violence and aggression directed at medics.

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The team also support employees who work alone and may face risky situations as well as investigating accidents and health and safety breaches/

Staff are understood to have been gathered to a meeting by Ken Fleming, head of Health and Safety and told that six out of 39 jobs are going.

The cuts are understood to be part of an plan to make savings of 20% in the Human Resources budget.

The health board said staff would be given the opportunity for voluntary redundancy or re-deployment.

Union officials said they were “shocked and disappointed” that NHSGGC was cutting jobs in health and safety at a time when assaults on staff were on the increase.

Figures show the number of attacks on staff in NHSGGC over 2014-15 was 6,581.

An NHS source said: “The health and safety team provide health and safety advice and training to all NHS staff.

“It is the bridge between the board and the Health and Safety Executive for all services and accidents.

“They are responsible for protecting staff and visitors from violence and aggression.

“If they don’t do this work it falls to senior charge nurses.

“The Glasgow board has been told it’s £100million in cuts this year.”

A Unison spokesman said: “Unison is shocked and disappointed that NHS bosses want to slash health and safety ?in an attempt to balance their books.

“Despite the rise in assaults, increased verbal abuse and a host of local issues concerning building fabric and systems, it seems from this, that the board’s commitment to staff and patient safety is empty rhetoric.”

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “There is no connection between us undertaking the opportunity to review our corporate services and the acute paper reported by the media earlier this week.

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“We are continually looking at our staffing structures to ensure we have the correct staffing levels and skill mix to provide an effective, safe and efficient service across our Board area. This has no affect on the care we provide to patients.

“There are no proposals to make staff redundant as we operate a no compulsory redundancy policy. Where staff may be affected by organisational change our Workforce Change policy, which has been developed in partnership with Trades Unions, provides staff with the opportunity for redeployment into other vacant posts within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.”