DEVON NHS PCT CRISIS! – all 5,000 employers offered offered voluntary redundancy

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‘NHS Together’ lobby of parliament on November 1st demanding no cuts to NHS services
‘NHS Together’ lobby of parliament on November 1st demanding no cuts to NHS services

All five thousand Devon Primary Care Trust (PCT) employees across the county have been sent a letter offering voluntary redundancy as a cost-cutting measure.

Health workers have been told they have nine days to decide whether they wish to leave the NHS.

Workers have been offered six weeks pay if they leave by 31 December.

The PCT made the offer in an attempt to cut a predicted £15m budget deficit for the end of the financial year. It is believed nobody has accepted the offer.

UNISON regional spokesman Ken Terry, said none of the recognised unions had been consulted about the offer.

He said: ‘They appear to be railroading it through.

‘There are many trusts who are in financial difficulties and we have been able to work through it with them.

‘We would like the opportunity to do the same with Devon PCT.’

There is anger throughout Devon over a swathe of cuts.

Last week Devon PCT announced 100 community hospital beds were being closed, on top of 100 already cut earlier in the year.

The PCT claimed that the ‘temporary cuts’ would not affect services and that it was reviewing all of its health provision.

In addition to closing another 100 beds, other cost-cutting measures include a freeze on staff vacancies until next year and overnight closure of all minor injuries units.

As reported in News Line yesterday, the University of Plymouth has reacted to the cuts by announcing plans to axe 100 nurse training course places, saying there isn’t the ‘demand’ for newly qualified nurses as trusts freeze posts and sack nurses.

Announcing ‘a major review of local health care across the county’ last Wednesday, December 13, Devon PCT gave an outline of ‘further details of the short term financial recovery programme’.

It said: ‘The freeze on all management, clerical and administrative jobs that has been in place since July 2005 has saved the PCT £1.3m to date but it is now clear that further measures are necessary to achieve break-even.

‘The PCT will now therefore also:

‘Review all short term and fixed staff contracts.

‘Review the role of members of staff who have been working for the PCT for less than two years.

‘Review the short term provision of low priority services such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, IVF and orthodontics.

‘Review the implementation of NICE guidance.

‘It is estimated that the combined effect of the new and existing measures will be to save the PCT approximately £15m by the end of the financial year.

‘This will enable the health community to come close to a break even position.’