500 hospital jobs go to save £50m
- Published on Thursday, 17 February 2011 11:58
- Posted by Scott Buckler
A leading hospital is to axe 500 jobs including nurses and consultants to save over £50 million, leading to the closure of wards and loss of beds, union leaders have said
St George's Hospital in Tooting, south-west London, said it was not immune from the financial challenges facing the NHS, and revealed it needs to achieve £55 million of savings this year.
Unison said 500 jobs would be cut, at least three wards closed, 100 beds axed and the number of births capped.
A spokesman for St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "The trust is a major trauma centre, hyper-acute stroke unit and centre of excellence for cancer, cardiac and women's and children's services and we are committed to providing quality care to our patients.
"We cannot speculate at this stage on the exact number, or nature, of posts that will need to go but we hope to avoid the need for any compulsory redundancies. With this in mind we have already put in place a recruitment freeze and are stopping the use of agency staff."
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said:
"Cutting 500 jobs and closing at least three wards is a devastating blow for staff and patients at St George's. The shock waves will be felt in hospitals across London and beyond.
"This announcement is more proof that the NHS is not safe in David Cameron and Andrew Lansley's hands and is reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's devastating reforms during the 80s and 90s. Only two weeks ago, Barts and St Thomas announced 630 job losses, including 250 nurses and 100 beds cut.
"Sadly we are going to hear a steady feed of these cuts with the loss of valuable staff, beds and services in communities right across the country."
Nurse Jane Pilgrim, Unison's nursing convenor at St George's Hospital, said: "This is a sad day for staff at St George's. We were told by the Government that there would be no cuts in frontline posts but in reality the NHS is witnessing swingeing cuts to frontline services every day."
Unison pointed out that the trust is one of the largest healthcare providers in south-west London and St George's is one of the country's principal teaching hospitals, and it warned the loss of so many jobs will have "serious consequences" not only on the local community and London, but on patients across the South East.
Source: ©Press Association