‘Worst Kind Of Penny-Pinching’

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Rally to defend St Helier and Epsom hospitals last November when there were protests about patients being served cold meals  – now St Helier Trust  is removing light bulbs to cut bills
Rally to defend St Helier and Epsom hospitals last November when there were protests about patients being served cold meals – now St Helier Trust is removing light bulbs to cut bills

‘It’s penny-pinching of the worst kind,’ a UNISON spokeswoman told News Line yesterday.

She was commenting on the removal of every other light bulb at St Helier Hospital, near Sutton in Surrey, in a move to cut the electricity bill by trust bosses.

The UNISON spokeswoman added: ‘In the NHS millions of pounds are being wasted on PFI, and poured into private treatment centres and management consultants.

‘This is penny-wise, pound foolish.

‘Our members at St Helier and hospitals around the country will be taking part in the Day of Action on March 3 to show their support for the NHS, and to protest against cuts in jobs and services.’

Epsom and St Helier NUS Trust UNISON branch secretary Kevin O’Brien said: ‘Staff are furious at the way their services are being ripped apart by wave after wave of cuts and threats of redundancy.’

Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, which runs Epsom General Hospital in Epsom and St Helier Hospital in Carshalton, is faced with cutting a £24m deficit.

About 40 light bulbs were taken down in hospital corridors and communal areas, the trust confirmed on Wednesday. A trust spokesman said that clinical areas were unaffected.

He added that it was ‘imperative’ that the trust reduced its £3m yearly electricity bill after ‘significant price hikes’.

Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust plans to axe 480 jobs and close 200 beds over 18 months under savings plans.

The spokesman said eighty beds have already been closed and posts were being reduced by cutting down on bank and agency staff, with full-time staff being moved to other roles.