Union fears as hospital chiefs launch redundancy programme

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a WARNING has been issued by unions over planned redundancies at a Yorkshire NHS trust.

Bosses at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust are facing an investigation by regulator Monitor into its deteriorating financial position.

Managers are forecasting a deficit of £6.4 million in 2014-15, including restructuring costs of £3.3m, in contrast to a projections of a surplus of £3m just six months ago.

Planned cost savings of £19.5m are likely to be £11m below target, prompting a decision to carry out major restructuring at the trust, which has 6,000 staff.

No target is being publicly set for job losses but dozens are expected to go early in 2015 under a voluntary programme amid warnings from Monitor efforts to make the trust sustainable in the long run should be speeded up.

Further savings are expected in 2015 amid early predictions the trust will need to make swingeing cuts worth £30m in 2015-16 - an unprecedented 10 per cent of its budget.

Gary Cleaver, regional organiser for Unison, said staff were “disappointed and angry” about the losses. The trust had planned to shed more than 400 jobs under a strategic review of its services. This had now been shelved but he did not believe the upcoming losses could be taken in isolation.

He said: “It couldn’t have come at a worse time before Christmas - people are having to make decisions which will affect the rest of their lives.”

The losses came just weeks after managers had been to Spain to recruit more nurses.

“It’s completely bizarre,” he said.

Julie Hull, the trust’s executive director of workforce and organisational development, said: “The trust currently faces a number of significant challenges – service, structural and financial - which all impact on our workforce in terms of the way we work.”

The South Tees NHS trust, which runs hospitals in Middlesbrough and Northallerton, is also making redundancies in a restructuring worth £5m.