London hospital to sack 500 to save 50 mn pounds

February 17th, 2011 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 17 (IANS) A leading hospital in the British capital will sack 500 employees, including nurses and consultants, leading to closure of wards and removal of beds, that would save over 50 million pounds, union leaders said Thursday.St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, said it was not immune from the financial challenges facing the National Health Service (NHS), revealing it needed to achieve 55 million pounds of savings this year.

The country’s biggest public sector trade union, Unison, said 500 jobs would be cut, at least three wards closed and 100 beds removed.

“This is a sad day for staff,” Nurse Jane Pilgrim was quoted as saying by The Independent.

St. George’s is a major trauma centre, hyper-acute stroke unit and centre of excellence for cancer, cardiac and women’s and children’s services. It is also one of the country’s principal teaching hospitals.

A hospital spokesman said: “We are committed to providing quality care to our patients. We cannot speculate at this stage on the exact number, or nature, of posts that will need to go but we hope to avoid the need for any compulsory redundancies. With this in mind we have already put in place a recruitment freeze and are stopping the use of agency staff.”

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “Cutting 500 jobs and closing at least three wards is a devastating blow for staff and patients at St George’s. The shock waves will be felt in hospitals across London and beyond.”

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