WORKFORCE: Hundreds of jobs will be lost at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust in the next four years as part of plans to cut costs.

The trust told HSJ it planned for around 300 jobs to be lost across its Worcester, Kidderminster and Redditch hospitals.

Compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out but most jobs will be lost through natural wastage and voluntary redundancies.

The majority of the posts will be in non-clinical areas although the trust is aiming to also cut its reliance on clinical locum and agency staffing as part of efforts to cut costs.

The trust employs around 5,500 people with an annual turnover of more than £320m.

It is currently planning a major reconfiguration of services at a cost of £35m. The trust said the job losses were not related to the reorganisation, which could see the downgrading of emergency care at the Alexandra Hospital.

The Worcestershire health economy has identified a need to save £200m.

A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals said it had regularly identified the need to discuss cost savings.

The spokesman added: “It is inevitable we will lose some non-clinical posts over time as we streamline our processes and make better use of IT systems.

“Where posts do need to go we will look to achieve this through natural wastage and voluntary redundancies, with compulsory redundancies being the last resort.”

The spokesman said the trust expected the number of posts to reduce “by around 300 over the next three to four years”.

“The reductions will be linked to new ways of working and better use of IT. Clinically, we are expecting to maintain a similar amount of posts overall, but with a reduced reliance on locum and agency staffing which will reduce overall costs.”

Unison has criticised the plans saying they will have an impact on patient care.

Ravi Subramanian, from Unison, said: “If those 300 staff are taken away from supporting clinical areas it means clinical staff are going to have to be doing their own admin and clerical work which is going to take them away from the frontline.”