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Job losses in Hewitt's backyard

7th February 2007

25072006_emptybed1.jpgAlmost a thousand jobs are to be lost and 200 beds closed at Leicester’s hospital trust.

Health unions have criticised the move which will save £90m over the next two years at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt’s constituency.

The 900 jobs will mostly go through vacancies and natural wastage such as retirement, but around 200 compulsory redundancies are expected. The majority of losses would be office staff, with few clinical or nursing losses. The plans involve closing eight wards across the city’s three hospitals.

Trust bosses say the move is prompted by reforms that will see patients spend less time in hospital and expansion of treatment in the community.

The cuts would also help address a £32m deficit, although further savings will still be needed.

Unions rejected claims that the savings will be invested elsewhere in the NHS, and warned workers could strike over the proposed cuts. The city PCT has countered that it plans to inject an extra £3m into community services in the next 12 months.

Critics say the cuts in Ms Hewitt’s ‘own backyard’ will make it impossible for the government to continue to deny the impact of NHS deficits.

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