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Plan to Cut 770 Jobs at Cornish Hospital Revealed

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10:46am 28th January 2013
(Updated 10:46am 28th January 2013)

Pirate FM has learnt Cornwall's biggest hospital could cut more than 770 jobs over the next five years.

Last year inspectors warned Treliske it did not always have enough staff on duty.

Hospital bosses say most of the losses will come from admin posts as they battle to save £50m.

A report due to be debated by the Trust's board says: "The workforce of tomorrow will be a smaller number of highly skilled professionals, working in coherent, lean systems, within modern facilities, to deliver high quality care, right first time.

"Non-medical staffing is projected to change significantly with reductions in administrative staff as systems and efficiencies become leaner and more streamlined, taking advantage of systems technologies. Ensuring that the services we pay for are as efficient and cost effective as they can be, we will rigorously test them against the current external market provision."

The report warns: "Simply doing more of what we have always done is not an option. We will need to do things differently and radically change the way our services are delivered. This is an enormous challenge for all our staff and emphasises the need to develop and improve our people managaement alongside other organisational improvements."

It will mean non-medical staff taking over duties traditionally performed by doctors and nurses.

Graham Webster, Vice Chair of Health Initiative Cornwall, said that was already happening: "Over recent years additional duties which were previously done by higher clinical staff are now being done by nurse practicioners for example. But there are certain tasks which can only be done by doctors or very highly qualified nurses.

"They (administrative staff) are the people that operate in support of our doctors and nurses in order to deliver high quality, safe care. And I'm just concerned that with us cutting so many people at the lower grades, the support is not going to be there for our professionals in order to deliver care to patients."

But bosses insist the changes will mean patients actually see more medics on wards.

The authors of the report add: "Medical staffing productivity is required to increase through a mix of reduced non-clinical activity and by ensuring the correct complexity of cases is allocated to the right grade of doctor."

It comes as the Royal Cornwall continues discussions about introducing regional pay to the southwest, alongside other hospitals, despite it having been ruled out by senior politicians.

Stuart Roden from Unison in the Duchy said: "We think it would have a direct effect on patient care. We would not be able to attract the best nurses, doctors, clinicians to come to Cornwall. They would go elsewhere where the wages are higher.

"If we force everyone in Cornwall down to the lowest common denominator that's clearly going to impact on the local economy. People won't be able to spend to go to the shops, the pubs, the restaurants and it will drive our whole economy backwards."

Jo Gibbs from the hospital said: "We need to plan for new treatments, new technology and care delivered in different settings - with a greater emphasis on integration and partnership with other organisations.

"The exact size and shape of the workforce is not yet clear and there will be a wide range of considerations and opportunities in the years ahead.  RCHT will work in partnership with its staff and trade unions to achieve this clarity and to jointly plan.

"Currently our priority is to invest in additional Midwives to match the increasing birth rate and increase the number of Registered Nurses on our wards to ensure our patients receive consistent, high quality care."

10:46am 28th January 2013

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