Warning over cuts to nurses at Newham Hospital

Managers at NHS London have discussed making �20 million worth of cuts to frontline staffing budgets at Newham Hospital.

Unions warned savings on such a scale would result in an increase in mortality rates.

But the trust has denied asking Newham to implement the cuts and said the figures were based on a theory rather than a plan.

The NHS London report, seen by trade magazine Nursing Times, reveal that the finances of 18 hospital trusts were analysed.

Howard Catton, head of policy at the Royal College of Nursing, said the proposals, if ever put in place, would be bad for patients.

He said: “From what we know, across Newham and the capital, we are not looking at hospitals here who are over staffed.

“Most nurses say to us that they are close to the numbers that they need for safe levels of care.

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“Why all of this matters is because we know that any change in nursing staff will have an impact on patient services. If numbers fall too low we could see an increase in deaths.”

Newham Hospital is now controlled by Barts Health NHS Trust, following the merger of Newham University Hospital, Whipps Cross, and Barts and The London NHS trusts.

The move is expected to result in efficiency savings.

A spokesman for NHS London said three different sets of figures were used to calculate potential savings for each trust

He said: “They all represent theoretical productivity opportunities, not a plan to implement changes.

“The set of figures quoted in the Nursing Times that is used in this model is based on an imaginary trust, performing at the top in every possible area, including nursing.

“This trust does not exist, but is made up of the best achievements of all different trusts.

“These figures are not used anywhere in the detailed analysis in the report because they are not viewed as an achievable level of productivity improvement.

“No trust could achieve this reductions and no trust has been asked to achieve these reductions.”