Cash-strapped hospital to axe 105 jobs

MORE than 100 jobs were in jeopardy last night after it emerged Ipswich Hospital bosses need to save £16million.A crunch meeting of the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust Board is to be held tomorrow to consider its 2006/07 business plan.

By Danielle Nuttall

MORE than 100 jobs were in jeopardy last night after it emerged Ipswich Hospital bosses need to save £16million.

A crunch meeting of the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust Board is to be held tomorrow to consider its 2006/07 business plan.

The Trust has to claw back a multi-million pound deficit by the end of March next year and make further efficiency savings to meet targets. It is already forecast to overspend by £5million at the end of 2005/06, which is in addition to its existing debt of £4.7million.


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The Trust is being asked to approve a plan that will see 105 posts cut across the hospital's departments in order to pay back the historic debt and enable it to break-even.

But health bosses said last night they hoped natural wastage would allow it to keep redundancies to a minimum.

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The business plan also contains plans to increase staff car parking charges, although exact details are unclear at this stage.

The news came on the day the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital confirmed it was also looking to lose posts - 500 out of a total of 5,000 - in a bid to plug a £22m hole in its budget.

The West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and James Paget in Gorleston have both axed jobs already.

In his report to the board, Andrew Reed, chief executive of the Trust, confirmed Ipswich Hospital had to save £16million in 2006/07 - which is about 10% of its current spend of £174million.

“The Trust faces a year in which the scale of financial challenge will dominate the agenda. However, it is critical to place this in the context of the core job to be done, to maintain and improve quality of services provided to patients,” he said

“We need to find £16 million of savings to achieve break-even in 2006/07. Managers across the Trust have been developing savings schemes and to date 230 individual schemes totalling £13 million have been identified so we have further work to do.

“The savings schemes generally fall into four categories - changing services known as service reconfiguration, workforce, income generation and non-clinical services.

“This hospital has tremendous staff and we have tried to minimise the impact of the changes we need to make on staff. At this stage, we have identified 105 posts - not 105 people - which will be lost across all staff groups throughout the hospital.

He added: “We hope normal staff turnover will help us reduce the number of any redundancies to a minimum, and other ways of reducing the pay bill through better managing sickness absence, will be put in place.

“Last year, for example, 150 posts were 'lost' through natural wastage. All vacancies are subject to continuing scrutiny so this figure could rise throughout the year.”

Ipswich Hospital presently has 2,372 posts, but because some are filled by people working part-time or as part of a job share there are more than 3,000 employees of the Trust.

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said the saving schemes had been carefully considered in order to minimalise the impact on patient care.

“The proposals remain proposals until the trust board meet. Our only aim is to protect standards of patient care,” she said.

Ann Glover from Unison, which represents many health workers, said: “We know there are going to be options discussed at the meeting and there is no point in causing further concern to our staff by speculating before the final decision is made.”

Ipswich MP Chris Mole said: “I know there is concern among many people at the cost of some agency services at the hospital and I hope that is where they look first.

“But it is very important that any changes should ensure that they do not affect the care of patients or the ability of the hospital to meet its targets.”

The Business Plan sets out eight key objectives for the Trust in 2006/07. These include meeting all financial requirements including eliminating cumulative debt, meeting all key national priorities on time and within budget, reviewing the Trust's service, and improving the flow of emergency and elective patients, including improved admission and discharge processes.

NHS: who earns what?

First year junior doctor: £20,741 per year

Registrar: £28,930 per year

Consultant: £69,991 per year

Entry level nurse: £18,698-£24,198 per year

Nurse specialist: £22,320-£30,247 per year

Nurse consultant: £36,957-£41,246 per year

SOURCE: British Medical Association and www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/nhs-knowledge_base/data/5689.html

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