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480 posts to be laid off in a hospital trust

The Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust in Surrey is to cut nearly 170 beds and 480 jobs over the next 18 months to save £24 million.//

A spokeswoman for the trust said: 'The trust is reducing the amount of time patients spend in hospital, which means that it needs fewer beds.'

Previously 43 beds have been removed and now an additional 170 are going to be axed up. The spokeswoman added: 'Individuals have not been identified for job losses at the moment, but up to 480 posts will go.'

The trust's chief executive, Lorraine Clifton, said: 'The financial challenges facing the trust are very real and should not be underestimated. 'By looking at all our systems and how we can work differently, we will make sure patients have good access to services, receive the right treatment at the right time and don't spend longer in hospital than necessary.'

She added: 'No one staff group or service has been focused upon - every area, from senior management to clinical, non-clinical and corporate areas has been reviewed to identify how we can increase our efficiency to make savings.

Kevin O'Brien, Unison branch secretary at Epsom and St Helier, vowed to fight the cuts and said: 'Staff are furious that their futures have been put on the line in order to bail out a financial crisis that is not of their making.'

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