Financial pressures lead to Stepping Hill job cuts

Stepping Hill job cuts
Stepping Hill job cuts

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust is cutting 350 full-time equivalent jobs and closing a ward at Stepping Hill with the hospital reported to be £40m in debt.

To address the deficit, the Trust are being forced to close surgical ward B3 from today, sell the north east corner of the site for development and raise staff car parking fares.

A further eight trauma and orthopaedic beds are to close from October.

Chief Executive of Stockport Council, Eamonn Boylan, said: “The Council is aware of the significant measures that the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust (Stepping Hill Hospital) plans to take to address their financial challenges.

“We are still committed to work together as we develop a joint approach to the integration of Health and Social Care as part of the Stockport Together Programme, providing quality and improved outcomes for patients across the borough.”

With over 50% of trusts expecting to end 2016-17 in deficit, last week NHS England announced a raft of measures to try to get NHS finances under control, including new financial penalties for trusts and CCGs which fail to meet targets.

Regarding the Stepping Hill job cuts, a spokesperson from Stepping Hill said: “In common with many other NHS trusts, we are facing severe financial challenges.

“These difficult decisions have not been taken lightly, but it is essential that we proactively manage our financial situation and ensure long term sustainability. We want to continue improving and transforming our high quality patient services, but we can only do this by taking action now.

“We are not sacking staff. From August we will be inviting staff to take voluntary redundancies in order to help us meet our financial challenges. The number is 350 whole time equivalents and will include current vacant posts and people retiring.

“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.

“With bed and ward closures we are ensuring that patients will receive the highest quality of care in appropriate wards elsewhere in the hospital. Several bed closures taking place would often be vacant during the summer months.

“We fully appreciate that car parking charges will never be popular, but it is important we are able to make savings in areas which do not affect patient services. We are offering staff a number of options to help their journey to work, and car parking charges are based on ability to pay, with staff in higher pay bands paying higher charges. We also regularly remind staff about the need to park courteously and legally if they are leaving their cars in nearby public roads, and the importance of being a good neighbour”.