Health trust face £16m cuts

A HEALTH trust has confirmed that it needs to make £16m of savings next year.

But bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust say the cuts will not affect frontline services and there are not expected to be any compulsory redundancies.

The trust, which runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, revealed the news at a time when the NHS is faced with making £20bn of savings nationally by 2014-15.

The savings will be made by adopting a strict job vacancy control system but that does not mean a complete freeze on recruitment and more effective purchasing and stock control.

Alan Foster, chief executive for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “We do need to make savings of nearly £16m this year.

“We know that, financially, this is the most challenging year we have ever faced.

“Our plans to make these savings are based on identifying and eliminating waste and bringing in new and different ways of working to ensure we continue to deliver the excellent care our patients have come to expect and our staff have worked so hard to achieve over recent years.”

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, must cut £22m.

Chief executive Simon Pleydell said it was down to a number of factors, including rises in inflation, VAT and energy bills and reductions in the prices paid to the trust for certain procedures.

The announcements came as Prime Minister David Cameron announced that changes would be made to controversial plans for NHS reform.

He also pledged there would be no cuts in NHS spending.

Mike Hill, regional organiser of public sector trade union Unison, said: “Almost £40m in savings needed across the acute trusts on Teesside is a significant amount and shows that the NHS has never been spared the pressures of the need to make cuts following the Government’s comprehensive spending review.

“Given this, Unison, the union representing the majority of health workers, has worked closely with management in both South Tees and North Tees to deliver efficiency savings in a manner which both protects patient care and safeguards jobs.

“In these difficult times we especially welcome the commitment made to no compulsory redundancies.”