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University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust

Morecambe Bay to cut up to 230 posts in savings drive

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust has begun a staff consultation on plans to cut its workforce by up to 230 whole time equivalents in a drive to make savings of £30m by the end of 2013-14.

According to the consultation document, the bulk of the workforce cuts – up to 120 – would come from measures to reduce length of stay.

To do this, the foundation trust proposes to increase day case procedures, cut pre-operative bed days, and make “full use” of flexibility in staff terms and conditions.

It has plans to close 40 beds at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary by 1 July this year, and a further 40 at Furness General Hospital by 1 October.

However, Morecambe Bay’s savings drive could see further cuts of up to 50 whole time equivalent staff from a review of its nursing workforce, 40 whole time equivalent staff from a review of clinical administrative support, and 20 whole time equivalent staff from a review of estates and facilities staff.

The consultation paper states: “The trust needs to reduce its cost base by approximately 13 per cent, becoming an organisation with a £250m turnover.

“This translates to saving approximately £1 in every £8 that we currently spend.”

In a bid to make those savings quickly, the trust proposes to halve the periods for which staff are entitled to protection of their earnings after being down-banded or losing salary enhancements.

Morecambe Bay’s latest finance report shows it recorded a deficit of £24.8m for the first 11 months of 2012-13.

Its finances have nosedived over the past two financial years, as the foundation trust invested to improve quality after a major care quality scandal. In May last year, responding to a review of high death rates at the trust, its then interim chief executive Eric Morton told HSJ: “We’ve been told our mortality isn’t where it should be. There’s an indicator that staffing levels could be a significant contributor to that, so I’m going to move on from that and increase staffing.”

Royal College of Nursing officer Jonathan Bowker said the trust’s 45 day consultation was “very worrying news” and the RCN was “extremely worried about how these cuts to staffing levels will affect patients and their care”.

He added: “These cuts will heap even greater pressure onto already overstretched staff, who have very genuine worries for the future of patient safety and quality of care.”

The trust said in a statement: “All schemes must undergo a Quality Impact Assessment requiring the final sign off from the divisional clinical director, medical director and executive chief nurse. To be signed off, schemes must be able to demonstrate through this process that they will not negatively impact on patient safety or quality of experience.”

Readers' comments (10)

  • “We’ve been told our mortality isn’t where it should be. There’s an indicator that staffing levels could be a significant contributor to that, so I’m going to move on from that and increase staffing.”

    So they are trying to improve quality of care provided and to do this plan to cut nursing posts!!! thats not what you do if you plan to increase staffing....Or am I reading this wrong ?

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  • have they read the francis report!!!!!!

    unbelievable, again I suppose the managers will keep their jobs...just get rid of the support staff and problem the hospital will run itself

    when the building infrastucture starts to crumble (because of getting rid of 20 estate staff) around thier eyes and the wards are no longer fit for purpose..what happens then...operate on patients in a tent!!!!

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  • I predict that when the health minister makes his target of saving 20billion pounds off the health budget. Pts will be sat on an empty ward where family bring them food and drink, do all their care and Drs ward rounds consist of a robot Dr who is sat at a desk some 300 miles from the hospital.

    Ahh and I suspect that you won't need nurses then at all.... Progress?

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  • And who will be blamed when something goes wrong? The Nurses

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  • Anonymous | 26-Apr-2013 3:38 pm

    with so much increasing automation going on in the NHS and other services there will soon be little point in having any patients let alone the human race at all. maybe our destiny is to shrink our rapidly growing population until we wipe ourselves out altogether.

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  • So they had a high death rates scandal and are now suggesting cutting 50 nursing posts? Errr.... has someone lost the plot at Morecambe?

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  • Disgusting...there's nothing else to say! Well there is but I doubt it would be printed here!

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  • PDave Angel | 26-Apr-2013 10:25 pm

    And who will be blamed when something goes wrong? The Nurses

    Well said. Its time nurses became militant and stood up for ourselves and patient care. Mr Cameron and Hunt are quick to lay the blame on us when things go wrong so we have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. Its high time for us to show the government we are not a walkover. Time for strike action.

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  • When the ward housekeepers were cut who did their job the nurses
    When the porters were cut who did their job the nurses
    When the ward clerk jobs were cut guess who did their job, yes the nurses
    The list goes on and I heard that Loose women on TV were saying how terrible we are.
    The patients and relatives are very doubtful about us.
    What a fine mess we are in.

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  • Anonymous | 29-Apr-2013 8:27 pm

    I do hope you are qualified to do all these extra jobs put upon you with some sort of additional insurance in case things go wrong :-)

    Personally, I am highly multi skilled and boast experience as an electrician, plumber with special expertise in unblocking loos and washbasins), gym mistress, resp. physio, as well as all of those you mention above and many more. the only problem sometimes is finding time during a shift to actually nurse patients although I am actually trained and qualified in that too. This is rapidly becoming an optional extra to my busy day!


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