Cambridgeshire

Union pledges to fight job cuts at Cambridge hospital

A union is pledging to fight job cuts announced by a Cambridgeshire hospital.

The Cambridge branch of Unison said it would not accept cuts which affect standards of care or safety and would work to protect jobs.

Addenbrooke's Hospital plans to shed 500 jobs, including 170 nursing posts, over the next three years.

The hospital said the changes were necessary to save money and improve efficiency, but said cuts would not affect patient care.

A spokesman for Cambridge University Hospitals which runs Addenbrooke's said: "Like all parts of the NHS, we need to investigate new and more efficient ways of working as we face the financial challenges of the next few years.

"Part of that process involves examining our salary bill, which makes up the bulk of our expenditure.

"Over the past few months, we have said we are confident that we can identify a number of areas where staffing can be reduced without affecting patient care.

Vital service

"Part of this will be down to changes in the way the NHS delivers services, as some care moves away from hospitals.

"We need to use public money as effectively as possible -- but patients will always come first."

Martin Booth, of Unison, said: "There is no indication that activity at Addenbrooke's is set to reduce.

"Indeed, a recent increase in staffing levels indicates that if anything demand for services is increasing.

"So to plan to cut staffing numbers at this time will, we believe, potentially affect the standards and the safety of the care our members and other staff are expected to provide.

"We will oppose any reductions in staff numbers which put standards and safety at risk.

"This does not just mean front-line staff; administrative and support staff also provide an absolutely vital service without which patient care could not take place."

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