£20m cuts plan for Huddersfield and Calderdale hospitals revealed

Leaked document shows threat to jobs and wages as desperate bid to save cash put in action

Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Finance Department at Acre House in Lindley.

Millions of pounds of cuts at Huddersfield and Calderdale hospitals could see jobs go, beds removed, buildings sold and pay cut.

Hospital chiefs’ plans to slash £13.5m from their budget this year have been detailed in a document leaked to the Examiner.

It comes amid Government demands to save £20m by next March and a further £19m in 2015/16.

A report to Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s executive board shows 10 schemes designed to save cash over the next nine months.

Exact numbers of job losses have not been revealed but the report says “headcount reductions” in admin and non-clinical staff are needed along with any jobs identified as “non critical”.

A plan to reform wages, reduce Sunday pay and cut sick pay are also proposed.

Hospital chiefs also want a cut of 110 beds, 66 of which will go by October.

The reduction comes before the controversial Right Care, Right Time, Right Place review, which predicts a 100 fewer beds across the trusts two hospitals, has been approved.

Plans to raise cash by selling NHS buildings are also revealed. Nurses’ accommodation and a number of buildings on Acre Street, including Acre House, could be sold on top of the previously announced sale of the Princess Royal Community Health Centre.

Outsourcing of estates and immunology services and an increase in the use of technology is also set to threaten jobs.

And plans to increase income from private patients and from overseas visitors are also proposed.

The report also vows to make nurses and therapists more efficient by releasing them from non-clinical work, creating an equivalent of 45 full time jobs.

The document, a private report, was published on June 5 by the trust’s Director of Operations, Mags Barnaby.

It identifies risks of the plan, including “adverse impact of staff morale” and “unforeseen consequences” impacting on quality of performance.

The trust’s Director of Operations added: “We are working with our staff and union partners to deliver a balanced plan for the future which ensures safe, high quality care for our patients within the funding available.

“The plan focuses on those things that we can do to improve efficiency and ensure our resources are focused on frontline patient care.

“The proposal to reduce bed numbers is because we know that there are instances where patients wait unnecessarily for their care to be progressed and are in hospital for longer than they need to be.

“We are working to address these delays and reduce the length of time patients need to stay in hospital which will release bed capacity.

“The plan also includes looking at how we can build on some small successes we have had around IVF services to bring more income into the Trust.”

Hospital chiefs’ cuts plan for 2014/15:

1) Workforce - medical, £700,000

Achieved by improving use of internal locums and reducing reliance on agency staff. Productivity to be improved in theatres and outpatient services. New ways of remunerating medical colleagues to be designed.

2) Workforce - nursing, £500,000

Review effectiveness of nursing and midwifery workforce and relieve nurses from non-clinical care, freeing up the equivalent of 23 full time nurses. Review roles and grades of specialist and senior nurse groups. Re-band eight posts.

Identify posts to be released.

3) Workforce - non-clinical, £1.18m

Implementation of voice recognition technology and reduction in admin roles. Outpatient staffing review in preparation for the opening of Acre Mill. Tendering opportunities in Estates and Pathology.

4) Pay reform, £1.54m

Savings of £950,000 through cuts to Sunday pay and £590,000 by reducing long term sickness pay.

5) Housekeeping, £2.25m

No details in the report.

6) Estates, £700,000

Savings from outsourcing the laundry department, closing the nurses’ home, closure and sale of Acre House and properties on Acre Avenue. Closure and sale of Princess Royal Community Health Centre.

7) Efficiency review and length of stay, £1.98m

Reduction of inpatient beds across HRI and CRH excluding maternity and paediatric beds. Redeploy staff and improve patient care and safety. 66 bed reduction from October 2014. 44 bed reduction 2015/16.

8) Non-profitable service review, £90,000

Review loss making services and ensure all essential services at least break even.

9) Efficiency programme board, £4.8m

No details in the report.

10) Critical review of non-adding value posts, £1m

Review all posts to identify those that are not critical to direct care and treatment and are not critical to “keeping the base safe” with the intention to reduce a number of those, approx 33.

Reaction

Union leaders and MPs have condemned the plans as “savage cuts” to public sector workers’ pay and conditions.

And Unison, who were last week told that there was “absolutely no truth” to their claims that hospital bosses were planning to privatise 300 beds, say the report spells out their true intentions.

Unison Regional Organiser, Gary Cleaver, said: “The scale of job losses which are envisioned in this shocking report will have a devastating impact on our members and their families.

“It will also put standards of patient care in grave jeopardy. Standards of health care will inevitably plummet, with longer waiting times from referral to treatment.

“It will put lives at risk at the same time they are selling off NHS beds to private patients from across the world.

“The proposed savage cuts to our members’ terms and conditions include removing weekend pay rates and reducing pay for members on long-term sickness absence.

“The Trust has identified that by implementing the crippling cuts, there will be an effect on the quantity and quality of job applications received for NHS jobs.”

Mr Cleaver said people would be deeply alarmed to learn from the report that there are additional plans to sell off land and buildings which have been owned by the public for over 65 years.

He said the union was concerned about the plan to cut 110 beds before the expected reduction as part of the controversial Right Care, Right Time, Right Place health review.

“The Trust is implementing massive NHS cuts forced on us by the Conservative/Lib Dem Government,” he added.

“Their manifesto pledge that their “austerity” cuts would not have an impact on front-line NHS services is completely untrue, as we can see from this report.

“Cuts and privatisation are firmly on Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s agenda.

“Unison calls on the Trust to come clean with us over their plans and to arrange, urgently, a full and open consultation with the public and the trade unions now that these proposals are in the public domain.”

Halifax MP Linda Riordan said: “Little wonder health bosses are hiding behind closed doors. They are trying to implement Tory government cuts on the quiet. Their secret plans for cuts, closures and privatisation have now been fully exposed in this devastating document. It’s time they came clean and told health workers and the general public about their terrible plans. Loyal staff who work in the NHS, and people who need and rely on our excellent local hospital, deserve better this.”

Colne Valley MP, Jason McCartney said he would not comment on a leaked document.

But he said he would always “campaign and fight for good quality local NHS services free at the point of delivery”.

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