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17 February 2011, 14:29 | Updated: 2 March 2011, 13:22
Five hundred jobs are expected to be cut at a leading hospital in south London as part of plans to save £55 million.
St George's Hospital in Tooting says it cannot confirm the exact number, or nature, of posts that will need to go but hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies.
A spokesman said:
"St George's Healthcare is not immune from the financial challenges currently facing the wider NHS and we have been open with staff and unions about the need to achieve £55 million savings during 2011/12.
"The trust is a major trauma centre, hyper-acute stroke unit and centre of excellence for cancer, cardiac and women's and children's services and we are committed to providing quality care to our patients. We cannot speculate at this stage on the exact number, or nature, of posts that will need to go but we hope to avoid the need for any compulsory redundancies. With this in mind we have already put in place a recruitment freeze and are stopping the use of agency staff."
Unions claim job losses will include consultants and nurses with at least three wards closed and 100 beds cut and the number of births capped.
Unison has labeled the move a "devastating blow" with general secretary Dave Prentis claiming "the shock waves will be felt in hospitals across London and beyond".
St George's Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the largest healthcare providers in south-west London and St George's is one of the country's principal teaching hospitals.