ALMOST 50 posts at the Countess of Chester Hospital will be affected by a cost-saving reorganisation.
The Countess is consulting staff over a restructure which would see just two divisions of planned care and urgent care replacing the departments of medicine, surgery and women & children’s.
Compulsory redundancies are not ruled out but it is hoped most of the 47 staff can be reassigned to other roles.
Countess chief executive Peter Herring has already stated the hospital must save £6m per annum over the next three years as part of £20bn cuts to NHS funding.
He said: “The primary objective of our organisational redesign is to design a structure fit for the future, that is focussed upon patient pathways and avoids duplication.”
He added: “In addition, in the challenging economic circumstances we face we need to work more efficiently to ensure that we achieve maximum value for the taxpayer and the patient from every pound we spend.”
The hospital has invested almost £1m in its Countess Way programme – including the cost of employing consultants – to drive improvements and savings.
But Mr Herring said it would reap financial benefits. “If for, example, we can shave half a day off the average length of stay of each patient through ensuring speedier treatment and discharge then this could avoid in the order of £1.5m worth of recurrent cost.” Union Unison fears the measure, which affects mainly back-office managers, marks the start of a more fundamental restructure which will affect a larger number of staff in the long run.
And there is anger over an increase in staff car parking charges designed to raise an extra £300,000 toward filling the funding gap.