A leading teaching hospital has warned employees that a programme of service redesign will mean treating fewer patients, in fewer beds, with fewer staff.

A leading teaching hospital has warned employees that a programme of service redesign will mean treating fewer patients, in fewer beds, with fewer staff.

Hammersmith Hospitals trust chief executive Derek Smith outlined goals for the year ahead in a meeting with 100 senior doctors, nurses and managers last week.

'We are currently geared up to treat many people quickly and effectively with diagnostics and surgery that may no longer be done in hospitals in the future,' he said

The trust is due to publish detailed proposals on service redesign shortly, in line with government policy to treat more patients in the community. But as activity moved out of hospitals, it would be 'no surprise' that staff, beds and services would follow, Mr Smith said.

Hammersmith would instead focus on providing 'sophisticated, expensive, specialist care in the future to fewer but more-gravely ill patients'. A spokesperson told HSJ the trust would work 'very closely' with its academic partner, Imperial College London, to identify where research resources would be invested.

Budget deficits mean that 100-150 people could be made redundant by April 2007. The overall reduction in the workforce, including agency staff and job freezes, could reach 300.

A feasibility study is under way into the potential merger with St Mary's trust as part of a plan to create the country?s first academic foundation trust.