Pennine Acute Trust hospitals' surgery cuts jobs threat

Pennine Acute Trust
Image caption Pennine Acute Trust employs about 10,000 people

A "drastic reduction" in patients being sent for minor surgery at hospitals in Greater Manchester could lead to 160 job losses, a health trust has warned.

The Pennine Acute Trust said it was forced to consider the cuts because a fall in the number of referrals from GP surgeries.

The Royal College of Nursing said the jobs threat was "extremely worrying".

The trust, which serves a population of 800,000, said compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out.

Minor operations

The trust, which runs hospitals in Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and Manchester, said it had seen a significant reduction in the number of minor surgery referrals since April 2011.

It said that hospital-based dentistry work had reduced by about 70%, while tonsil removal operations were down by 40% and patients referred for removing minor skin lesions had fallen by 47%.

Patients needing minor procedures, such as varicose vein and knee operations, will now be treated at local healthcare centres and only minor operations with "exceptional clinical need" will be carried out in hospitals.

Dr Sally Bradley, medical director at the trust, said: "This reduction in the number of patients we are treating has a direct impact on the income we receive. With less income, we have less money to spend on our services."

The trust announced in February it may cut up to 1,000 jobs as it looks to save £43m by April as part of government cuts.

Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, said: "This is a result of the NHS having to divert money away from operations into a costly re-organisation.

"People are being deprived of NHS treatment and jobs are being cut when there is a big demand for these operations - meanwhile money is being wasted on a top down re-organisation."

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