More than 100 nurses amongst 450 Royal Free job cuts

The Hampstead hospital will also cut 16 doctors in a bid to axe �40million over the next year

THE Royal Free Hospital will axe almost 10 per cent of its staff in a bid to save �40million over the next year.

Staff were told on Wednesday morning that 450 posts will be removed from the total workforce of 5,500 – this will include 16 doctors, 107 nurses and 23 therapy positions, as well as 107 non-clinical workers.

The announcement comes as the Ham&High was handed confidential documents showing the Hampstead hospital plans to axe 11 of the 28 matrons running wards at the site – a move the Royal College of Nursing says will present a significant risk to patient safety and welfare.

The Royal Free says of the 280 posts identified for the axe, 131 are vacancies, filled by temporary staff or those due to retire and the majority of the remainder should be redeployed.

The hospital says a further 170 posts are under review, but hopes this shortfall will be largely made through staff turnover, natural wastage and redeployment.

A further �5million will be saved by reducing reliance on agency staff and merging backroom and support services – the trust has already merged its procurement department with the Whittington.

Most Read

Across the NHS in north central London alone, government targets have dictated �153.5million of savings, despite promises from the coalition government that NHS funding would be ringfenced.

Documents seen by the Ham&High show hospital bosses have been planning to cut more than a third of matrons from the hospital since February this year.

In a letter sent as part of the consultation, the London representative for the Royal College of Nursing Mark Farmer said: “This proposal is simply designed to save money with little evidence the service is currently inefficient or failing.

“This proposal presents a significant risk to patient safety and welfare as well as the education of nursing staff and other members of the healthcare team that rely on your matrons for their work and development.”

Spokesman for patients’ group LINk Neil Woodnick said they would be keeping a watchful eye out for changes in service following the redundancies.

“The LINk expects the Royal Free to observe the Department of Health directive that frontline services will not be affected,” he said. “If you drill down into the figures it appears to be a redeployment of staff rather than a mass dismissal. “

A spokesman for the Royal Free said patient care will not be affected by the loss of matrons and the hospital will continue to closely monitor the standard of nursing care.

Speaking about the cuts to the staffing budget, chief executive David Sloman said: “The Royal Free is not immune to the financial pressures facing the NHS. All hospitals are being asked to contribute to the 20 per cent productivity improvement needed by the NHS.

“Clearly it is going to be difficult, but by working together I am confident that we can achieve our savings while continuing to provide excellent standards of care.”