Hospital to cut 350 jobs
SENIOR nurses will be among 350 staff axed by Ipswich Hospital, it was revealed today.The controversial proposal is one of a number of drastic measures being put forward by the hospital as it battles to get rid of its £16.
SENIOR nurses will be among 350 staff axed by Ipswich Hospital, it was revealed today.
The controversial proposal is one of a number of drastic measures being put forward by the hospital as it battles to get rid of its £16.7m debt.
Others include axing two theatres, closing 70 beds and restricting the amount of medicines given to patients when they leave hospital.
Andrew Reed, chief executive, said: “It will be uncomfortable for many people as we have got to become more business-like.
“There is a tension between being accountable to the public as tax-payers and making the best use of their money, versus being accountable to them as a caring organisation who will go the extra mile, and that's what is difficult.”
Among the staff who look set to lose their jobs are up to 40 specialist nurses who have expert knowledge of conditions like asthma, diabetes and cancer.
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Administrative staff will also face a huge shake-up, with medical secretaries and consultants' personal assistants hardest hit.
Mr Reed said: “When people get referred to hospital they will no longer be referred to a particular consultant but to a team, and will then be seen by the most appropriate person within that team.
“Rather than having secretaries for individual consultants there will be secretaries for the team.”
Other proposals include reducing the number of hours consultants spend on non-clinical work.
The recovery plan is the result of a six-week review of everything the hospital does, and is expected to save the hospital £20.3m by April 2008.
Mr Reed said: “We've tried to put the emphasis on the non-clinical services and protect clinical services as much as we can.
“The percentages of staff reductions are much greater in the non-clinical departments compared to those involved in directly delivering care.”
Mr Reed paid tribute to the hard work of staff who have been involved in helping to shape the proposals.
He said: “It has been hard but the process has worked exceptionally well and everyone, including clinicians, has really got stuck in to this.
“However, we know that this will have a huge impact on everyone at the hospital and we would not seek to minimise that.”
The proposals will be put before the hospital's board at a public meeting on September 28 and the hospital must consult with staff for at least 90 days before any changes take place.
NEWS of the huge level of job cuts has devastated hospital staff who have been working flat-out to maintain the standards of patient care despite the difficult financial circumstances.
Bob Cousins, spokesman for the hospital's joint union committee, said: “This announcement will come as a huge blow to the staff.
“Last year they performed miracles in meeting government targets and implementing some major projects.
“The reduction in spending and staff numbers means we will not be able to make that level of achievement next year.
“We are happy to rise to a challenge but the staff cannot reasonably be expected to work much faster and morale is very low.”
He added that there are parts of the recovery plan which the unions fully support but said others give them “grave cause for concern”.
He said: “We are currently involved in discussions with the trust managers on a wide range of issues to see where we can maximise savings but minimise the effect on patient care.”