Tony Blair's invite to hospital as job cut fears soar

PUBLISHED: 07:06 18 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:18 24 May 2010

MORE health jobs could go as cash strapped Weston General Hospital continues to tighten its financial belt. Health chiefs announced last month that 60 nursing jobs are being axed in a shake-up designed to see more patients treated in the community. Beds a

MORE health jobs could go as cash strapped Weston General Hospital continues to tighten its financial belt.Health chiefs announced last month that 60 nursing jobs are being axed in a shake-up designed to see more patients treated in the community. Beds are also to go in the cost cutting plan.But the hospital's board is planning further cuts and will carry out reviews of several departments before August.Areas to be looked at are the operating theatres, maternity unit and accident and emergency as well as specialist nursing. All are expected to produce savings, board papers say.The hospital plans to save £11million in the cost cutting exercise.A hospital spokesman said: "The forthcoming reviews will examine existing working arrangements and then identify the most efficient ways of working in these areas, with a view to implementing them as soon as possible. "For example, the theatres review will look at ways to make the best use of available operating time and the emergency department review will consider future ways of working effectively alongside primary care teams."Implementing cost effective working arrangements is naturally expected to create savings for the trust, but whether these will include reductions in posts will not be known until the reviews are completed."Unison regional officer Liz French said: "The hospital is telling everyone that it isn't going to make anyone redundant, but it is cutting 50 per cent of the ward managers and there's no other jobs for them to go to."They will continue to look for cuts. They are going to make £11m, half this year, half next year."I'm almost 100 per cent certain that the 60 jobs this year relates to the first half of the savings, not the second half. There will be reorganisation and cuts to services."Weston MP John Penrose has challenged Tony Blair to visit Weston General to see how the hospital is coping with the £11m cuts. He also offered to organise a delegation of health professionals to brief the Prime Minister on the situation.Mr Penrose said: "I can't promise the Prime Minister a tickertape reception. "I think people would respect him for investigating the matter at first hand rather than making key decisions on the future of Weston's NHS from the ivory towers of Westminster.

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