Full scale of NHS cutbacks revealed

Pinderfields Hospital general view
Pinderfields Hospital general view

HOSPITAL budgets will be slashed by £60m in the next two years - almost double the amount first imposed under government spending cuts, it has emerged.

Health bosses must find £30m of savings this year and next - a rate of £2.5m per month - to balance the books at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

Fears over patient care and job losses were already being raised when the trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, slashed £38m from last year’s budget following the spending restrictions announced by the coalition government.

The trust had anticipated saving a further £32m during the next two years - but rising costs and inflation mean a further £28m will now have to be found.

Adrian O’Malley, secretary of the Mid Yorkshire Health branch of Unison, said: “Staff levels have been cut to the bone. If they cut staffing any further then it will impact on patient care.

“The bulk of NHS spending is on staff. Where are the other cuts going to be? Staff are going to be very worried about this.

“All unions at the trust have written to management to ask what they are proposing.”

The £60m figure emerged at a trust board meeting yesterday.

The extra savings must be made in order for the trust to be granted Foundation Status, but trust bosses said this was not the sole purpose of the savings.

Interim finance director Vince Doherty said: “Like all NHS and public sector organisations, we have been working hard to drive up quality whilst driving down costs, and in 2010/11 we achieved savings of seven per cent.

“We still have opportunities to modernise our services and deliver cost, efficiency and quality improvements going forward and we are putting plans in place to do so.

“In all of our plans, providing high quality care and services to our patients remains our top priority.”