'Several hundred' jobs to go

Several hundred jobs will have to go to help Gloucestershire's hospitals save £18 million.

That is according to the Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Frank Harsent has begun further discussions with staff, Governors and the Health Community and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee about how they are going to deliver this without reducing the quality of care for patients.

The Hospitals Trust has a turnover of around £420million and employs around 7,400 people, approximately 70% of costs are comprised of staffing.

Dr Frank Harsent, Chief Executive, said: "We have a strong track record of delivering savings year on year and introducing more efficient working practices. We have done this whilst keeping our focus on the top priority of high quality patient care and supporting the increasing shift towards community provision when this is right for the patient.

"Based on our current predictions and on the scale of change and efficiency savings required, I believe that we will require a reduction in the number of posts in our Trust by several hundred. 

"We hope to achieve the majority of these changes through a combination of natural turnover, including retirements, and the potential for some roles to be transferred to other organisations in the health community – reflecting what I have said about the continuing shift towards community based care.

"At present we do not know which posts are affected or exactly how many, but over the coming weeks and months we will be working very closely with staff side colleagues, our health community partners and individual teams and members of staff to make the most appropriate decisions about how to achieve these savings, in the most timely fashion.

"Within the Hospitals Trust, our stated position remains as before that we will do everything we can to avoid redundancies, in particular compulsory redundancies. Safety and quality of care will remain our prime considerations and we will ensure that we always maintain the right staffing levels to deliver that, even if we have to recruit in some areas of service to do so. Our priority will be on protecting front-line services.”

This week the Trust has been talking to staff representatives, partners across the health community, Foundation Trust Governors, local MPs and the Health Community and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee about the actions required to meet the Trusts efficiency savings. During discussions with staff the Trust will be drawing on their expertise to identify efficiencies which staff believe could make a difference.

In addition, in the Spring the health community will be resuming a conversation with patients, the public, staff, Governors and interested groups, talking about some of the outline options for bringing about the radical shift in healthcare in the future.