NHS staff face the axe

STAFF at a health facility in Great Dunmow will be losing their jobs as part of a nationwide cull within the NHS.

Management-level workers at the West Essex PCT, which has its main offices on Haslers Lane, face severe cuts to the budget leading to six in ten facing the act.

The NHS needs to save �20billion over the next four years, which equates to �100milion in west Essex – in total a 60 per cent cut in management costs.

Despite the grim statistics chief executive Catherine O’Connell is keen to keep hold of her “best talent”.

Speaking at a community forum in Stansted designed to inform local residents about the shakeup in the health system she said: “There will be significant changes and although the NHS budget is not actually being cut – it will not grow.

“So as demand on services increases the budget will not. This means a real term cut across the next four years.

“Staff have been consulted and there will be job losses. It is unfortunate but we do not want to lose our best people. We have to keep the show on the road.”

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Over the next two years PCT’s will gradually hand over decision-making powers and budget controls over to local GPs who will be monitored by Essex County Council health and well being boards.

Mrs O’Connell said the move means more choice in services and more control at local level.

“Choices of hospital and treatments will increase and be extended especially for people with long-term conditions,” she added.

However, the announcement has been met with cynicism and concern that services will be moved away from rural areas like Uttlesford.

Dunmow’s Essex County Councillor Susan Barker said: “We are passionate about doctor provision in this area. In Dunmow there is not enough and in Takeley it is non-existent.

“We need the right people to be present at meetings so the situation can actually be discussed.”

Mrs O’Connell was completely stumped when one local resident asked: “If you can lose six out of ten management staff now – what the hell have you been doing for the last ten years? Surely these people are needed.”

No decision has yet been made on how the area will be divided up into serving bodies when GP’s take over, but it is thought that the areas will be larger than they are now.

Uttlesford has been rated as the as the healthiest in the county and if services are spread further there is concern that the district could lose out as further cuts bite.

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