Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 26th September 2012
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is facing up to the desperate measures of offering all its staff voluntary redundancy in a bid to save between £15m and £20m.
The trust has written to all staff asking them to consider application for voluntary severance with a deadline of October 5th.
It is believed no frontline clinical jobs are under threat.
A statement from the Trust said: “No offers of severance were, or have since been, made directly to any member of staff.
“The priority for the trust remains an absolute commitment to the quality of patient care, and given this, it is unlikely that applications from staff that directly care for patients will be accepted.
“The trust agreed this approach with our trade unions, and our scheme reflects similar schemes nationally.”
The trust also reacted to claims that the move is purely motivated by culling unwanted staff among its 4,500-strong team.
It said: “The trust values all staff, however, the offer of a voluntary severance package may appeal to some members of staff who were considering a career change or may wish to have a break from working.
“It is each and every member of staff’s personal choice as to whether or not they apply.”
Steve Brazier, Unison head of Health in the South East, said: “Sadly, this is the least worst option available, and has been negotiated to avoid compulsory redundancies.
“The trust has to find more than £20m of savings this year. Under the terms of a £225m deal for a new hospital which opened last year, PFI debt has to be paid before the trust spends any money on patient care or on staff. Meanwhile, the demand for acute care keeps on rising.”