Stepping Hill Hospital cuts jobs as it loses £75 a minute
A hospital that is losing £75 a minute is to close a ward and axe 350 full-time posts, its trust has revealed.
Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport has a deficit of more than £40m and staff have been told the plan to cut costs was "essential".
As well as shutting the posts, it includes closing a surgical ward on Friday, and cutting eight trauma and orthopaedic beds.
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said it faced "huge financial difficulties".
'Bolt from blue'
Councillor Laura Booth, who campaigns on hospital issues for Stockport's Liberal Democrats, said the loss of 22 beds on ward B3 and the other proposals were worrying.
"This is a bolt from the blue and we are desperately worried for the staff and patients who will be affected by these cuts," she said.
A hospital spokeswoman said the plan was in line with those of other NHS organisations in a similar position.
"We [must] proactively address our financial situation now in order to have a good future going forward," she said.
"It would be irresponsible to sit and do nothing."
The trust hopes to cut posts through voluntary redundancies and not replacing outgoing staff.
A statement added: "In the case of each voluntary redundancy, a rigorous assessment will be made to ensure that the loss of the post in question would not have a negative impact on patient safety, and would still allow us to provide good quality services."
Several bed closures taking place would often be vacant during the summer months, it said.
Car parking charges are also to rise and part of the hospital will be sold as part of the plan to save money.
The trust said staff in higher pay bands would be required to pay higher car parking charges.
The Patients Association described the closure as "very worrying".
Chief Executive Katherine Murphy said: "Why should patients and NHS staff pay the price for huge NHS wastage over the years and Government cuts?
"Ultimately, people will be wondering which hospital will be next to declare closures and job losses."