NINETY beds and 104 jobs are to be axed as part of the latest round of cash cuts at North Cheshire Hospitals Trust.

The trust, which runs Halton and Warrington hospitals, agreed last November to a financial recovery plan to solve a huge deficit and save £18.4m.

Now it has discovered 'inefficiencies' in the bed and theatre system and has decided to make further sweeping cuts. It says these will 'improve the patient experience'.

The beds will be axed between April and June across a range of specialities on the Warrington site, including medicine, general surgery, gynaecology and trauma and orthopaedic surgery.

The cuts mean the number of posts at the hospital will be reduced by 104 but management has pledged there will be no redundancies. Instead, vacant posts will remain unfilled.

The trust had already axed 105 beds at the end of last year following the transfer of acute medical wards and planned surgical services to Halton Hospital.

Dr Stephen Bentley, the consultant physician who has led the changes, said, 'Many patients have undoubtedly been staying in hospital longer than they should because of unnecessary delays in the system.

'Clinicians and managers alike are all determined to make this happen.'