200 jobs 'at risk' at hospital

AROUND 200 staff at a hospital for people with mental health problems have been told their jobs may be at risk in the health shake-up.Workers at St Clement's Hospital, in Ipswich, were told of their uncertain situation by bosses last week.

AROUND 200 staff at a hospital for people with mental health problems have been told their jobs may be at risk in the health shake-up.

Workers at St Clement's Hospital, in Ipswich, were told of their uncertain situation by bosses last week.

It comes as the hospital, run by the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, works towards a new model of care which may see wards closed.

And it is set against the ongoing financial crisis in Suffolk's health system, which has seen hospitals threatened with closure and fears of cutbacks in patient services.


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The trust, which has been told to save £5 million by the end of March 2006, also performed poorly in the annual health tables, receiving no stars.

Alan Staff, director of modernisation, said: "About 200 of our staff are affected by a number of changes that we'll be making, in terms of achieving our model of care.

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"That is in terms of the services that we will and won't be providing at the St Clement's facility. When we've done all the work that we intend to do, their jobs as they are now may not exist.

"We put that many 'at risk' because we need to be fair and make sure that everyone has a fair shot at the new jobs that will be created."

Mr Staff, who rubbished rumours that St Clement's could be set to close, added: "We have no intention of laying off 200 staff.

"It's simply a process that we go through in the NHS that, when people's jobs are under review, we are obliged to give them notice."

Last month the trust proposed closing a number of community drop-in centres around the county, used by people with mental health difficulties.

Other proposals include axing developments that the trust was to bring in, such as 72-hour assessments, and a major review of services.

Cornelius Coates, chairman of the Ipswich Primary Care Trust Patient and Public Involvement Forum, said: "It's another nightmare. How do they reconcile the fact that they're telling that number of staff that their jobs are at risk, and yet they're not closing the place?

"What are they going to do - run it with no staff? The key question is what is the alternative provision. It's very depressing."

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