Bolton hospital job cuts will hit patient care: Unison

A union has warned that anticipated job losses at a Greater Manchester hospital will impact on patient care.

It follows the news that about 200 posts are expected to go across Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, due to a savings plan to fill financial gaps.

A Unison representative said the cuts would affect front-line services being provided at Royal Bolton Hospital.

David Wakefield, the newly appointed trust chairman, said patient services were safe.

The trust requires savings of up to £20m to become financially stable.

'No-one else'

Harry Hanley, Unison branch secretary, said he expected the job losses to be greater than predicted.

He said: "They're saying it won't affect front-line services, but it is going to because we are a team.

"For example if you take away medical records staff from the team, who is going to do the work?

"It will all fall down on front-line staff as there's no-one else there to do it."

At the end of the past financial year the trust discovered a deficit in outturn of about £2m, when a surplus of £1.9m was expected.

The trust said it was due to a shortfall in previous cost-saving targets.

A trust spokeswoman said: "David has spent his first days at the trust meeting staff and patients and has said that the services are safe.

'Quality is key'

"We will be looking to redeploy staff and remove posts through natural wastage wherever possible.

"David has assured staff and the public that quality is key and that no savings scheme will go ahead without sign-off from clinicians that it is safe."

The trust added it was not yet possible to say over what period of time the cuts would be made or where exactly the cuts will be.

In March, health watchdog Monitor found waiting time targets for accident and emergency patients at Royal Bolton Hospital had not been met.

Monitor asked Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to produce an action plan to deliver "sustainable improvements".

Delays in referrals for treatment was also highlighted as a significant issue.

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