WORKFORCE: Walsall Healthcare Trust has announced plans to shed nearly 300 full-time equivalent posts over the next five years.

The trust has said it will aim for a net figure of 293 jobs to be lost through natural wastage, vacant posts, mutually agreed resignation schemes and redundancy.

Its workforce strategy, which sets out a long-term vision for more integrated services, shows the net reduction by 2017-18 from its current full-time headcount of 3,488 full-time staff.

About 120 posts will be lost this financial year, although the trust plans to create 100 new roles, including 54 nurses and 26 healthcare assistants.

The document says the trust faces challenges including “rising demand for our services driven partly by an ageing population; rising expectations of the quality of care that we provide; significant financial constraints as a result of wider pressures on public sector finances; and developing and maintaining high levels of colleague engagement and experience at a time of significant increases in demand and change.”

This year the trust is aiming to make efficiency savings of £11.4m and to finish with a £4m surplus.

Unison regional organiser Tracy Wood said: “Industrial relations at Walsall Healthcare Trust work extremely well and we will work with management to preserve as many jobs in the future as possible.”