Send us news by text, start your message World News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Halton MP condemns government over hospital job cuts
HOSPITAL chiefs have confirmed that up to 200 jobs could be axed in the next year to save £11 million.
More staff could be at risk as a further £18m has to be saved over the next two years.
The cuts have been slammed by Halton MP Derek Twigg who fears patient care and safety could be jeopardised.
NHS bosses say they are confident compulsory redundancies to reduce the 4,000-strong workforce can be avoided.
Mr Twigg said: “It is very worrying. The Government is putting massive pressure on hospitals to save money.
“The hospital says they will try to protect frontline clinical care but they are already running with several hundred vacant posts.
“I think it puts concern over the future viability of the trust.”
Mel Pickup, chief executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In common with all other NHS organisations, we are now in our third successive year of having to make significant energy savings.
“Up until this point, we have achieved this without needing to reduce the number of staff we employ.
“The decision has not been taken lightly and I am absolutely committed to working with our staff to keep the number of posts to be lost the smallest possible.
“We have begun consultations with our staff and their union representatives and want to be very clear that this is about posts, not people.
“Compulsory redundancy is an absolute last resort and we have a good track record of working with our staff and avoiding redundancies.”
Seventy per cent of the hospital’s expenditure is on staffing.
Around £20m has been cut from the hospital budget since 2010.
Andy Rutherford, Unison regional organiser, said: “The hospital is buckling under pressure from the Government to meet efficiency savings.
“It gives me huge cause for concern.
“We will do whatever we can to mitigate redundancies and work with the employers. However, it is very difficult to make so many redundancies and not affect patient care and pataient safety.
“My other concerns are what happens in the next few years when more savings have to be found?
“There will be an impact to services and community groups.”
A further 35 jobs have been lost following the closure of ward B3 at Halton Hospital.
This provided intermediate care for elderly patients, preparing to go home, and was also used as an overspill ward.
Simon Banks, chief executive of Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, which funded the ward, said: “We did a lot of work with Halton Council’s rehabilitation team to improve hospital discharge.
“These people don’t need medical care and don’t need to be in hospital.
“We have moved people into retirement homes. They need a more homely environment.”
Hospital chiefs say they have invested money on improving emergency care and orthopaedic services.
An acute medical unit offers patients faster diagnosis, tests and treatment.
The accident and emergency unit has received a £1.4 million re-vamp.
Extra staff have been recruited at the newly opened orthopaedic treatment centre in Runcorn.