Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 14:20 UK

Hospital in Essex planning to axe 400 jobs

Southend University Hospital
The hospital employs more than 4,000 people

A hospital in Essex is planning to cut 400 jobs and delay building a new ward block to save £33m over three years.

Southend University Hospital has blamed the current economic climate and a transfer of some of it services to the community for its decision.

However, a representative of the union Unison said the level of patient care could be affected.

Chief executive John Gilham said: "The trust's principal approach is to manage this through natural staff turn over."

More than 4,000 people work at Southend University Hospital.

'Less time'

The hospital said the 400 job cuts would be among both clinical and administrative staff.

The foundation trust which runs the hospital said it expected to be able to save money by working differently, particularly as its commissioners were planning to provide more services in the community.

Dean Jones, from Unison, said: "At the end of the day if there's no administration staff then staff will have to do that administration.

"It could be doctors and nurses and ultimately that could mean less time with the patients."

Mr Gilham said the hospital foundation trust has had money in reserve ever since it came into being in 2006, but it is now being asked to absorb the cost of inflation while it sees a decline in its income.

The savings, he said, were in response to these pressures.

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