1,000 hospital jobs to go in Burnley and Blackburn in NHS cuts

Female physician in lab coat and mask isolated on white
Female physician in lab coat and mask isolated on white

HOSPITALS in Burnley and Blackburn are set to lose 1,000 staff including doctors and nurses in response to drastic government spending cuts.

Bosses at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have confirmed 200 posts a year will go between now and 2015 – amounting to a fifth of the total workforce.

Among those facing the axe will be 257 jobs from the administration and estates department, 226 from the nursing division, 126 from therapy and diagnostics, 47 doctors, 205 clinical support staff and 13 managers.

The Trust’s director of human resources and organisational development, Mr Ian Brandwood, said front-line services would not suffer and was confident there will not be a need for compulsory redundancies.

While most of the cuts will centre around admin and managerial roles, Mr Brandwood admitted some front-line doctors’ and nurses’ posts would go.

A study called False Economy, backed by the Trades Union Congress, claimed earlier this week that hospital chiefs in East Lancashire were planning to shed 1,013 full-time equivalent staff, including 50 doctors and dental staff, 270 nurses, midwives and health visitors.

More than 50,000 hospital posts are thought to be under threat nationwide as part of the Government’s bid to generate £20 billion of efficiency savings.

Burnley’s Labour group leader Coun. Julie Cooper said the news was “extremely worrying” and said she feared patient care will be affected.

“Services don’t come more front-line than the health service. I think people are being betrayed.

“I feel let down. The health service is the service people value the most.”

Coun. Cooper said that she also feared that a reduction in back room staff will put extra pressure on health professionals on the front line.

“I’ve got friends who are doctors and nurses and one of the things they have said is that they are hampered by paperwork. They are going to get more of it.”

But Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said that the Trust could save more money by reducing its use of agency staff. He said: “The Trust has overspent on its budget for years. It has got to get more efficient and put the money it saves back into front-line services. It’s just bad management.”

Mr Brandwood said: “The NHS nationally has been tasked with delivering £20 billion in efficiency savings over the next three years.

“In order to deliver our share of that saving, we are exploring all opportunities for further efficiencie. At this stage, our forecasts suggest that we will need to reduce our workforce by around 200 people per year between now and 2015.

“The majority of the reduction is likely to be in non-clinical posts as we seek to protect front-line services where possible. It is not anticipated at this stage that there will be any need for compulsory redundancies.

“We continue to discuss our plans with our trade unions and remain committed to providing the best possible health care to the people of East Lancashire.”