UNION chiefs say hundreds of jobs could be axed as regional health trust begins to prune its budget – with as many as 400 posts going at Basildon and Thurrock Hospital reports the Essex Enquirer
Overall, health workers union UNISON have warned as many as 600 jobs stand to be lost. The move has come after NHS South West Essex Primary Care Trust – the body in charge of allocating healthcare funding for Brentwood, Basildon and Thurrock – admitted it was now in “extreme financial difficulty” after a two-year overspend.
Last week the Trust admitted that more than 90 job will have to be cut over the next few months – but UNISON have warned this figure is likely to be as high as 600 with 400 redundancies predicted at Basildon & Thurrock Hospitals.
Chief Executive of NHS South West Essex PCT, Andrew Pike,who is planning the health trust’s ‘turnaround strategy’, is also in charge of neighbouring South East Essex PCT, which serves Southend and the surrounding district, where workers have already made their protest against expected cuts to staff numbers.
Letters warning of impending redundancies were sent to South West Essex PCT staff on Monday.
Though not directly controlled by South West Essex PCT, but run by its own Trust, Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals are nevertheless likely to bear the brunt of any staff losses in health provision as cash is removed from the system.
The Hospitals Trust couldn’t confirm any numbers, but issued the following statement, saying: “As an NHS organisation that has consistently balanced its books
every year since first becoming a Trust in 1992, we completely understand and support the need for the overall local NHS economy to reduce its expenditure to affordable levels.
“We are fully prepared to play our part in supporting NHS South West Essex in achieving a balanced position. We have begun detailed discussions with
NHS South West Essex and will be working with them to see how we can help make this work in real terms for the hospital and in the best interests of patients.
“Clearly, a more pragmatic approach needs to be taken than simply suspending planned surgery and outpatient appointments for a number of weeks.
“We have a duty of care to our patients, and must ensure that, whatever steps are taken, our patients remain our first priority.
“NHS South West Essex is not our only commissioner and there may be opportunities to offer our services to patients from out of NHS South West Essex’s area.
“We have a number of vacancies at the moment and there are retirements and resignations every month. As a result we would expect to be able to reduce the size of our workforce, if necessary.”