The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in the Eastern Region has criticised plans by Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital to cut over 200 jobs.
The plans follow announcements last year by South West Essex PCT to cut £20 million from the hospital’s budget and will mean fewer outpatient appointments, admissions, theatre operations and surgical procedures reports the RCN.
The consultation includes plans to slash the number of nursing and midwifery posts by over 100 and remove a number of specialist nurses from the roles for which they were trained.
Karen Webb Regional Director for RCN Eastern region said; “Any reduction in skilled clinical staff will have a direct and negative impact on patient care and will severely reduce the access that patients have to the skilled and specialist care they need, when they need it. The RCN has conducted research in the past which shows that specialist nurses can in fact save money, by keeping patients out of hospital and managing their conditions more effectively”.
Mike Kavanagh, RCN Officer for Essex said “While these changes are not led by the Trust, it is the Trust and its staff that will be held responsible for any problems that occur as a result of these changes. These cuts come at a time when SW Essex PCT in a bid to make massive cost savings is also making cuts to community services: Cutting access to services in the community will increase the pressure on Basildon Hospital not reduce it.
“The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital that it needs to make further improvements in order to comply with all essential standards of quality and safety or it will resort to enforcement action. We strongly urge both Basildon and Thurrock and SW Essex PCT to reconsider these cuts, and explore alternative options or we risk a tragedy the size of mid staffs occurring in this region.”