latest health care news

28.07.16

Stockport hospital to make 350 voluntary redundancies to tackle deficit

Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport is to cut the equivalent of 350 full-time jobs in order to cope with financial pressures.

Stockport Lib Dems said that Stepping Hill had briefed staff that it has a £40m deficit and is losing £75 a minute.

To cope with the deficit, it is closing surgical ward B3 on 29 July with a loss of 22 beds, and a further eight trauma and orthopaedic beds are to close from October.

Cllr Laura Booth said: “This is a bolt from the blue and we are desperately worried for the staff and patients who will be affected by these cuts.”

The hospital will also cut 410 jobs (the equivalent of 350 full-time ones), sell the north east corner of the site and raise staff car parking fares.

In a statement, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust insisted it was “inviting staff to take voluntary redundancies in order to help us meet our financial challenges”, not sacking them, and that the 350 jobs include staff who are retiring and posts which are currently vacant.

It said that in the case of each voluntary redundancy “a rigorous assessment will be made to ensure that the loss of the post in question would not have a negative impact on patient safety”.

The trust also said that in the case of ward closures, it would ensure that patients receive “the highest quality of care” in wards elsewhere, and that the car parking charges were necessary “to make savings in areas which do not affect patient services”.

“In common with many other NHS trusts, we are facing severe financial challenges. These difficult decisions have not been taken lightly, but it is essential that we proactively manage our financial situation and ensure long term sustainability,” the trust said. “We want to continue improving and transforming our high quality patient services, but we can only do this by taking action now.”

With over 50% of trusts expecting to end 2016-17 in deficit, last week NHS England announced a raft of measures to try to get NHS finances under control, including new financial penalties for trusts and CCGs which fail to meet targets.

(Image c. Dave Thompson from PA Archive and Press Association Images)

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Comments

Donal O'sullivam   29/07/2016 at 17:07

What's extraordinary, and most worrying about this article is that there is no attempt to justify this move on grounds of declining need, or change of clinical practice, or even as part of a rationalisation. Nor is there any detail of any kind as to how the unmet need that will therefore result is going to be addressed. It's just blatantly to save money, which to a certain extent might be understandable from a desperate Trust, but where is the scrutiny of this decision, or any checks by NHS England? I worked as an SHO at Stepping Hill many years ago. There was almost overwhelming need then, with fantastically dedicated staff trying their very best to meet that need; I can't imagine things have changed that much.

Anonymous   29/07/2016 at 19:51

I honestly don't know how they could possibly justify closing beds in a time when hospitals are bursting at the seams with demand. I suppose they'll have to use the saved money on building mile long extensions to their A&E corridors as that's the only place they will have left to go.

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