East End hospitals face huge shake up

HOSPITALS in the East End are to face one the biggest shake-ups in recent years, as it is announced savings of up to 20 per cent must be found.

Almost 700 doctors, nurses, finance and support staff working for Tower Hamlets’ Barts and The London NHS trust could see huge changes to where and how they work by Easter and jobs will go.

Chief executive Peter Morris today (Wednesday) announced the start of a three month consultation with staff.

He insisted frontline services “will improve”, while inefficiencies - including massively reducing the frequent and costly use of agency staff and consultants – will drive through the savings.

He explained: “We are searching for better value.

“There are significant changes we are posing for corporate departments, which will see a 30 per cent reduction in costs while doing a better service for frontline staff.

“We need to look into why we cancel so many clinics and operations. Why does theatre start at 9.30am when there is staffing from 8.30am?

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“We are making significant inroads on the amount we spend on consultants already. There has been a several million pound reduction on that this year.”

Redundancies will be kept to a minimum by departments not replacing staff that leave and not creating new vacancies.

Mr Morris said he is confident most jobs can be saved by the measures but could not rule out frontline job losses.

He added: “We hope we will not be making nurses and doctors redundant. That’s not to say we can guarantee that will not happen.”

Staff across the trust – which runs Whitechapel’s The Royal London, Barts in the City and Bethnal Green’s The London Chest hospital - could be moved between sites.

Around 10 per cent of the 6,500 staff could see their roles change significantly.

The trust, which ran on �680 million last year, is facing cuts of four per cent this year due to the government’s austerity measures, but needs to shave around a fifth of its costs in coming years.

Meanwhile, The Royal London is set to open its new hospital early next year.

Mr Morris said the opening would result in an increase in costs but is adamant services will not suffer.

He added: “We opened a new cancer centre at Barts in March and we’ve already learnt that we can keep our finances on track while giving staff and patients an enormous lift in a fantastic new hospital. We hope the same is true of The Royal London.”