WORKFORCE: Whipps Cross University Hospital has asked staff to consider sacrificing leave and do extra unpaid work, a leaked letter reveals.

The north east London hospital wrote to staff saying: “In light of our month five financial figures (£4.5m actual deficit) the trust has now launched extraordinary financial measures.

“As part of these measures we have asked staff if they are willing to volunteer to sacrifice annual leave and/or perform additional unpaid sessional duties”.

The trust said it was asking consultants to work an extra clinical session every month and the executive team were each giving up two days’ annual leave this financial year.

The letter from chief executive Cathy Geddes stressed that this would be a “one-off” and will “not commit anyone on an ongoing basis”.

It added that “in true Whipps Cross spirit” some staff had already volunteered.

The £244m-turnover trust is aiming for an 11 per cent efficiency saving this financial year and HSJ reported in July it was behind on this plan.

As of March the trust owed the Department of Health £33.5m in long-term loans.

A merger between it, Newham and Barts and the London Hospitals will go before NHS London later this year. The partner trusts, also finacially troubled, told the SHA they would need a £90m cash injection and an annual PFI bailout of £22m to make the partnership financially viable.

In a statement to HSJ Ms Geddes said: “All the actions we are taking are aimed at ensuring we continue to protect our front line services and avoid redundancies. Staff across the Trust are responding positively to the measures, and to our efficiency plans. We recognise that many people already go the extra mile and deliver over and above their job requirements. By working together, we will all be helping to ensure that we can put maximum funds into our frontline services.”