Union brands East End hospital cuts “outrageous”

A MEDICAL union has branded it “outrageous” that the East End’s hospitals trust is set to lose more than 600 jobs over the next two years.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said the announcement that Barts and The London NHS Trust is losing around ten per cent of its workforce will put patients at risk.

He said: “The idea that such a thing could be done without seriously jeopardising patient care is ludicrous

“How on earth do they think that hospitals and community services are going to cope?”

The trust looks after The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Barts in the City and The London Chest in Bethnal Green.

Earlier this week it was announced that 635 positions will go through positions not being filled when staff leave and new vacancies being axed.

It has now said 200 jobs are expected to be made redundant.

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The trust is having to make savings of 20 per cent to hit government targets set as a result of its austerity package.

It has also been said about 100 beds will go at the hospitals and nearly 260 nursing posts will be lost.

Some nurses will be replaced by healthcare assistants, who are cheaper to employ.

Chief executive Peter Morris said the trust had to get “better value for money”.

He added that it is massively cutting down on hiring consultants and agency staff and reducing funding for its corporate departments by 30 per cent.

He said: “We will not compromise safety, and we will not roll back the improvements in service quality we’ve been making over the past few years.

“Learning from what works well in the organisation, or elsewhere, we will continue to improve quality and build on the strong safety and risk management record that we have - as seen, for example, in the highest rating we have for clinical risk management.”

A spokesperson for Barts and The London NHS trust said: “Around two-thirds of what we spend is on pay, so reducing our pay budget is an essential part of our overall cost reduction programme.

“We do not expect any compulsory redundancies among frontline clinical staff, but jobs will change and we will be asking staff to be flexible by moving into new roles.”