400 jobs to be axed at Dudley's hospital trust in bid to save £14m
Four hundred jobs will be axed at Dudley's hospital trust during the next two years as it looks to save £14 million.
Bosses plan to reduce staff numbers through natural wastage such as retirement and a 'mutually agreed resignation scheme' which enables workers to leave in return for a set severance payment.
Compulsory redundancies will be a 'last resort', they have pledged.
Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust - which currently employs 4,500 staff - is bidding to balance its books in the wake of Government funding cuts.
It will also restrict recruitment to vacant posts - although bosses say they will continue to recruit to 'essential frontline nursing posts on wards and in the community'.
Earlier this y ear, the trust revealed it was facing a £6.7 million deficit this financial year.
Chief executive Paula Clark said the hospital trust board's decision to reduce the posts was not taken lightly.
"Our priority is always to provide high quality patient care as well as protecting our workforce and if we can get the vacancy controls right then we can reduce redundancies," she said.
"Pay is our biggest cost, making up 70 per cent of spend, and we know we cannot make the type of savings we need without looking at a reducing our spend on staffing.
"We must ensure we maintain appropriate staffing levels to continue to deliver safe and effective care to our patients and our approach will be to minimise the impact on front line clinical areas," said Ms Clark.
"Our aim is to reduce our workforce through natural wastage, not recruiting to non essential posts and by running our mutually agreed resignation scheme (MARS). Compulsory redundancies will be a last resort.
"The plan is designed to allow the hospital trust to achieve financial stability," she added.
The hospital trust said it had introduced a director-led vacancy control panel that will scrutinise every single request to fill a vacant post.
All requests will be subject to a rigorous quality impact assessment and only those deemed necessary to maintain high quality of care to patients will be approved.
Bosses have been reviewing the positions of temporary staff, those on fixed-term contracts, and bank and agency workers. They have also been looking at reducing overtime and recruitment to non-clinical vacancies to claw back costs.
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