300 jobs to go at Stamford and Peterborough hospitals

THREE hundred jobs are to go at hospitals in Stamford and Peterborough.

Seven months after it opened the new £289m Peterborough City Hospital, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust told staff on Wednesday that it was looking to make redundancies to plug a £38m shortfall in its budget.

Although it is too early to say where the jobs will go, the trust will be reviewing all its services so staff at Stamford Hospital could be in the firing line. No timescale has been given on the review process.

The trust has suffered a reduction in its income from primary care trusts commissioning services and running costs and staff numbers have gone up. The new hospital is also proving more expensive to run.

The trust employs 3,500 people with about 200 of those at Stamford. It says it will reduce the number of agency staff and will not fill non-essential vacancies.

The trust’s medical director John Randall said: “I don’t have any guarantee in relation to jobs at Stamford. However what I can say is we very much value Stamford Hospital. It is a very important part of our trust and any reduction in staff we do make we want to maintain the quality of our care and frontline services.”

He said he hopes the loss of positions will not affect patients and the trust will be involved in some difficult decisions in the next few years.

He said of the possibility of doctors and nurses being made redundant: “I would think it is unlikely but I certainly cannot exclude that or provide guarantees. The important message to get across is that the board is taking this very seriously and our number one priority is the quality of care we give.”

Stamford Hospital is in line for a multi-million pound redevelopment and the trust says the project remains a key part of its plans.

One of the public governors on the trust’s board, Lady Victoria Leatham, said the whole trust was extremely distressed at the thought of 300 redundancies.

“There is an extreme financial situation here which has to be dealt with and I think that the wish of all the trust is that we should be able to get it on an even keel as soon as we can and continue to provide good and safe health care for people in the Stamford and Peterborough area,” she said.

She said exciting plans for Stamford Hospital were being worked on.

“Stamford is very much at the forefront of our minds and particularly my mind as it is something I have been involved with for 25 years,” she said.

At a meeting on Tuesday the trust revealed it would have to draw on a £17m overdraft with Barclays Bank or face running out of cash by the end of July.

Director of communications Andrew MacKintosh said the trust would be doing further work with staff to look at where the 300 posts need to be reduced. Once this work is complete we will be providing further information to staff, which we would like to do as soon as possible.”

Trust chairman Nigel Hards said the trust’s financial situation was in line with other hospitals.

He said: “We have already put measures in place to reduce spending across all areas and are building a robust savings and efficiency plan.

“However, to help us deliver these savings, we need to remove about 300 posts from across the trust.

“We will work to ensure our absolute priority remains the safety and care of our patients.”