480 Jobs Face Axe In Trust Shake-Up

A hospital trust is to axe up to 170 beds and 480 posts to save £24 million, it has been confirmed. The Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust in Surrey said it had to save millions of pounds over the next 18 months.

A spokeswoman for the trust said it was reducing the amount of time patients spent in hospital, which means that it needs fewer beds.

It has already cut 43 beds and plans to axe up to another 170. The spokeswoman added that individuals had not been identified for job losses at the moment, but that up to 480 posts would go.

The trust is not currently in deficit but needs to save millions to balance its books over the coming months.

In September, it announced a set of “quick win” initiatives, including asking staff to empty their own bins every day, offering hospital patients a lighter lunch or dinner and cancelling all contracts with water cooler companies.

The trust’s chief executive, Lorraine Clifton, said: “The financial challenges facing the trust are very real and should not be underestimated.

“By looking at all our systems and how we can work differently, we will make sure patients have good access to services, receive the right treatment at the right time and don’t spend longer in hospital than necessary.”

She added: “No one staff group or service has been focused upon – every area, from senior management to clinical, non-clinical and corporate areas has been reviewed to identify how we can increase our efficiency to make savings.

Kevin O’Brien, Unison branch secretary at Epsom and St Helier, vowed to fight the cuts and said: “Staff are furious that their futures have been put on the line in order to bail out a financial crisis that is not of their making.”