Hospital jobs at risk

Stephen Eames.

Stephen Eames.

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HEALTH chiefs could axe almost 180 jobs as the cash-strapped Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust looks to slash its £24m deficit.

Bosses at the trust, which runs hospitals in Pontefract, Wakefield and Dewsbury, are planning a round of job cuts to make budget savings and balance the books this year.

A consultation paper seen by the Express says up to 178 posts could go in total, including nurses, managers and administrative staff.

At a media briefing on Monday, Stephen Eames, interim chief executive of the trust, said: “Our staff do a fantastic job and it’s obviously a difficult time for them as we go through the process.

“But we have this challenge we have to meet and 70 per cent of our costs are wrapped up in people. We expect there will be a reduction in the overall workforce and there’s different ways we can do that.

“We’re not reducing frontline staff. We’re not expecting it to affect the quality of care we provide – our agenda is to improve quality, increase efficiency and reduce costs.”

Mr Eames added he “couldn’t rule out” redundancies as the trust begins its 90-day consultation period with hospital staff.

The Express understands between 40 and 80 administration and clerical jobs could go and the same number in facilities management to save up to £2m in each department.

Between two and six specialist nurses and the same number of nursing management jobs, which includes matrons and senior nurses, could also face the axe.

Between two and six management posts are also at risk.

Peta Clark, from nurses’ union the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This is extremely worrying news. Reducing nursing posts will affect the management and provision of patient care.”

Potential job losses are among a range of cost-cutting measures being considered by the trust, including reduced working hours, unpaid leave and possible outsourcing of services to save cash.

Public sector union Unison said it would oppose any compulsory redundancies or privatisation.

Yvette Cooper, Pontefract and Castleford MP, said: “The scale of cuts at our hospitals is deeply worrying. Everyone wants to see greater efficiency.

“But the government is forcing our local NHS to spend over £30m on top down reorganisation, while nursing staff are being cut. How can that be good for patient care?”