WORKFORCE: A voluntary redundancy scheme at Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust has attracted more than 200 applicants.

The trust, which employs more than 8,000 staff, implemented a “mutually agreed resignation scheme” in July 2011. The scheme allows staff to leave voluntarily with a severance payment, and follows a similar initiative in 2010-11.

The trust’s board papers for September say: “The trust management executive has taken the decision to run a new MARS programme for 2011-12 in order to help support the workforce savings needed to meet the trust’s financial targets.”

They add: “However it is recognised that reductions in workforce costs must be done in a way that maintains the trust’s ability to meet operational and quality requirements. Applications from staff applying for MARS will therefore be considered individually against these requirements and will not be approved automatically.”

The trust’s sickness absence figure was 3.14 per cent, below its internal target of 3.25 per cent and comparing favourably with other South Central hospital trusts.

However at the end of June this year pay budgets were overspent by £4.3m, which increased to £6.3m at the end of month four. “This pay overspend is largely a result of anticipated levels of savings not being fully realised,” the board papers say.

Total staffing numbers measured around 8,450 during the first quarter of 2011-12. This reduced to 8,420 at the end of July but “is still above the agreed workforce trajectory”.