Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 16:45 UK

Health board to cut 1,200 posts

Hospital room
Unions have warned that job cuts will endanger patients

Scotland's largest health board has confirmed that it plans to cut its staffing by 1,252 by 2013.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) said an investment programme in its hospitals meant it could provide the same standard of care with less staff.

It said there would be no compulsory redundancies and the cut would be achieved through natural wastage.

The Royal College of Nursing said the announcement confirmed its worst fears and would put patient safety at risk.

In a statement, NHS GGC said the staffing reduction was part of efforts "to modernise and redesign our services".

It stated: "Between 2009 and 2012 we will have spent £350m on modernising our hospitals and other facilities, equipment and support services.

It is simply not possible to cut this number of nursing and other posts without affecting the quality of patient care and patient safety

Norman Provan
Royal College of Nursing

"This investment will create purpose-built facilities enabling us to provide care to our patients more efficiently and more effectively.

"By redesigning our services, including a move for some services onto fewer sites, we have identified that we can provide the same high quality care for our patients with fewer staff - 700 in 2010/11, rising to 1,252 over 18 months."

The health board said it was working with trade unions "to take forward this programme of change".

However, the move was condemned by the Royal College of Nursing.

The union's associate director for employment relations, Norman Provan, said: "The decision announced today confirms our worst fears and, if implemented, will put patient safety at risk.

'Patient need'

"It is simply not possible to cut this number of nursing and other posts without affecting the quality of patient care and patient safety.

"We have been warning for some time that Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board's plans are reckless and put short-term financial considerations ahead of patient need."

The issue was raised on Thursday by Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray, at First Minister's Questions at Holyrood.

Mr Gray accused Alex Salmond of presiding over a culture of cuts and said more were on the cards at health boards in Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran.

The first minister said NHS spending across Scotland this year was £264m higher, despite a £500m "cut" handed down by the last UK government.

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