Cash-strapped hospital cuts more jobs

A “DEVASTATING” blow has been delivered to an already cash-strapped hospital trust, resulting in the loss of 40 further jobs.The West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust was already seeking to cut 220 posts in a bid to pay off more than £20 million debts when it announced the extra cuts yesterday, meaning it now intends to shed a total of 10% of its 2,500-strong workforce.

A “DEVASTATING” blow has been delivered to an already cash-strapped hospital trust, resulting in the loss of 40 further jobs.

The West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust was already seeking to cut 220 posts in a bid to pay off more than £20 million debts when it announced the extra cuts yesterday, meaning it now intends to shed a total of 10% of its 2,500-strong workforce.

Trust chief executive Chris Bown said the hospital had intended to sell off land in Sudbury valued at £3 million, but the sale has been hampered by an application to turn it into a village green.

He said: “It's had a devastating impact on our current plans and I'm incredibly disappointed that the trust will not now be able to benefit from the sale of this land.”


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The trust had planned to save £8 million this year, which is £4 million short of the £12 million required by the Strategic Health Authority, but has now had to make even more cuts.

Through the new job cuts and other cost-cutting measures the trust hopes to claw back £2.6 million of the £3 million it has lost through the land deal.

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Gill Malik, of public services union UNISON, said: “We are extremely concerned that even more job losses have been announced due to ongoing problems with the deficit.

“Once again our hard pressed members face insecurity with their livelihoods.”

West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said he was “incensed” by the situation and blamed bias in Government funding towards other parts of the country.

He said: “Suffolk is constantly being discriminated against in favour of more politically acceptable places such as the north of England, without taking into account the social make up of the population.”

Mr Bown said the land was “effectively wasteland” which had been earmarked for housing development, hence its value, which would be much diminished by village green status, allowing only “sports and pastimes” usage.

A similar disputed village green case concerning land in Oxfordshire is awaiting a House of Lords ruling, due in July next year, after which the trust will know how it can proceed.

Other cuts include reducing the use of locums, stopping routine surgery after 10pm and a saving of £2 million has been identified via a re-evaluation of the trust's assets.

This means that £2 million of resources, which would have allowed for depreciation of assets, have now been recovered on hospital balance sheets, although there is no actual cash gain.

The trust is exploring whether it can use charitable funds for expenditure in cases where this would meet with the objectives of the charities concerned, such as in paying for the training of staff.

Mr Bown said there was also the possibility of taking on a private company to run hospital car parks, although his had not yet been fully explored, and would only happen under the condition that fees were not hugely increased.

He said he was confident that none of these moves would have a negative impact on patient care.

Off the 260 full time equivalent posts the trust intends to shed, 107 have so far been identified.

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