Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hospital to Put 150 Staff on the Dole as Cash Crisis Bites

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hospital to Put 150 Staff on the Dole as Cash Crisis Bites

Article excerpt


A FLAGSHIP London hospital is making up to 150 staff redundant.

Thousands of posts have been cut nationally as the financial crisis deepens but today's announcement is understood to be the first time a trust has said current staff will lose their jobs.

As more than 13,000 posts have been axed across the NHS, government officials and ministers have consistently argued these figures mean reductions in agency staff, not real job losses.

Now that the first trust has announced actual redundancies after making all other possible cutbacks, it is feared others will follow.

Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust has saved [pounds sterling]24.5 million over the past year and must claw back another [pounds sterling]22million to balance its books by next April.

The trust announced in October that it would have to cut 300 jobs, mostly by reducing agency staff and temporary workers. But it has now emerged that between 100 and 150 redundancies will be included in the cost-saving measures.

Nurses' leaders reacted with dismay, warning: "This may be the tip of the iceberg for redundancy notices that could follow."

Chief executive Derek Smith said the move was a result of government policies to take more patient services out of hospitals and into the community.

He said: "We are currently geared up to treat many people quickly and effectively with diagnostics and surgery that may no longer be done in hospitals in the future. It should be no surprise that if patients are moved out of hospitals then some staff, beds and services will follow them.

"We need to use our experience of being the UK's leading research hospital to carefully plan how we provide sophisticated, expensive, specialist care in the future to fewer but more gravely ill patients."

Mr Smith spoke to 100 senior staff and doctors yesterday and announced a public consultation on the future of services at the hospital. He said local health trusts are already limiting the number of patients sent to hospital. …

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