310 Jobs Axed As Hospital Saves £30m

310 jobs could be axed as Northampton General Hospital tries to make £30 million of savings over the next two years, health bosses have announced today (Monday May 23rd).

Acting chief executive Christine Allen has been telling Heart:

“I am really proud of the commitment that our staff have already shown to the challenges we all face at NGH. For the second year running we have met all our key performance targets, significantly reduced the incidence of hospital acquired infection and delivered a financial surplus. We have achieved this level of success at the same time as reducing our costs and improving the quality of our services. I am confident the plans we have developed will address our long-term financial challenge and ensure we continue to provide the level of care our patients rightly expect.” 

The Trust has a track record of quality, efficiency and effectiveness and has delivered £10.5 million in cost improvement savings during 2010/11. This year the Trust plans to deliver £18 million of savings. 

Christine said:

“We remain totally committed to providing high quality, safe care for our patients. At the same time we must also drive down our costs and provide value for money. We have been developing our plans for a number of months in order to secure the long term financial future and stability of NGH. With 65.4% of our current spend related to staff pay, equating to £154.5m, it is entirely appropriate that an integral part of our plans should be to review our workforce.

“Our aim is to reduce the amount we spend on staffing during 2011/12 and 2012/13. Part of this work includes reviewing and restructuring the organisation, including a review of management posts. Everything possible will be done to protect frontline posts and services. To this end we also plan to deliver £10.4m from non-pay and non-clinical savings.

“There is bound to be speculation about whether people’s jobs are safe. Currently we know that around 200 posts will be affected in the current year and 110 in 2012/13. But this absolutely does not mean that we will be making 200 staff redundant. We will do everything we can to protect jobs, including reducing spend on bank and agency staff by redeploying staff to fill existing vacancies, and focusing on reducing staff sickness and absence. We are also considering a voluntary leavers scheme.

“These actions will keep to a minimum the number of compulsory redundancies we have to consider. We will be consulting with staff on all of our proposals to achieve savings. Although several staff groups will be affected, I want to reassure patients that our quality of care and the services we provide will continue to remain our priority throughout.”

The Trust will be working with partners in the wider healthcare community such as GP commissioners, the primary care trust and community services to ensure its plans meet local healthcare needs. Plans to close up to four wards and redeploy staff where possible are already well developed, but Heart has been told these will not be implemented until the Trust is confident that key triggers, such as a reduction in emergency activity, have been met.

Trust chairman Dr John Hickey added:

“I cannot stress strongly enough our commitment to providing high quality, clinically effective and safe services for our patients. The board recognises that this is a difficult time for all our staff. We will continue to work closely with our staff side union colleagues to listen to their views and work together collectively to meet the challenges ahead and deliver what is needed.”

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