Save cash and save your jobs’

STAFF at Hinchingbrooke Hospital are being asked to help the trust save cash as part of a scheme which could eventually help them save their own jobs. The incentive scheme has been running at the hospital for some time, but now the Caring for Our Money -

STAFF at Hinchingbrooke Hospital are being asked to help the trust save cash as part of a scheme which could eventually help them save their own jobs.

The incentive scheme has been running at the hospital for some time, but now the 'Caring for Our Money - Making Every £ Count' initiative is being sold to staff on the grounds that it could ultimately "help save jobs".

The hospital - which needs to save £9.6million this year - has appealed to all its staff to come up with ideas and is offering up to £5,000 per suggestion.

Staff are being offered half of the net savings created by their idea in year one or 10 per cent over five years with a maximum of £5,000. The deadline for suggestions is August 31.

Hinchingbrooke is already making cuts through staff redundancies while transferring patients to the new treatment centre and closing old wards has helped save some additional money.

It will also save a further £24,000 by cutting back on cleaning contacts in its offices.

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Offices will now be cleaned only once a month and contract cleaners, Medirest, will no longer empty the office bins. Staff will instead be given a supply of bin liners.

Hinchingbrooke is also set to shut its tissue lab. This means people who go to the hospital for smear tests and biopsies for cancer will have their samples sent to another hospital for analysis.

A hospital spokesman said that 12 staff, including two consultants, a registrar and nine lab staff would be moved to Peterborough Hospital. Discussions were still going on as to which tests would be transferred to the Peterborough and Stamford Hospital NHS Trust.

However, she added that this was not a cost-cutting measure. She said: "We find it difficult to recruit histopathology consultants because they prefer working in a bigger unit".

As reported by The Hunts Post, the hospital is scaling down its overnight accident and emergency services and is spending £250,000 on consultants KPMG to identify further savings which includes examining staffing levels among doctors, nurses, managers, administrators and clericals.

The KPMG team is due to finish this week.

However, the hospital has confirmed that its proposed 200 redundancies will not bring the hospital trust back into the black.

A hospital spokesman said: "We want to cover all bases. We are not living within our budget and we have to do that."

Across Britain, a third of NHS trusts are in the red, pointing to the suggestion that budgets are too small to cope with demands on a modern health service.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital NHS Trust has a budget of about £80million a year.

The trust says part of the problem has been the lower than expected patient numbers in the new treatment centre. In spite of attracting extra work, it is still operating at less than 100 per cent capacity.

Two wards in the main hospital have been closed to move more patients into the centre and Holly Ward will close when a new paediatric centre opens early next year.

The treatment centre costs £250,000 a month to lease with the money being paid to Prospect Health Care, the consortium which provided the private finance to build the centre.

The spokesman added: "We had hoped to attract patients from other areas.

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