The St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been asked by the Department of Health to speed up its financial recovery plans and balance its books within one financial year. This means taking action above and beyond that already planned.

On top of the £19 million that the Trust already planned to save in the current financial year, a further £10 million needs to be saved. Because pay costs are the largest element of its budget, St George’s is going to need to reduce them further.

The Trust will work hard to keep to a minimum the number of redundancies that need to be made and will be taking other action to reduce pay costs wherever possible, including:

  • Further reductions in spending on bank, agency and locum staff
  • Minimising sickness absence across the organization to reduce the need for temporary staff to cover such absences
  • Strict controls on study leave
  • The tightest possible controls on recruitment

However, even with these actions, it is estimated that the number of posts within St George’s will be reduced by between 100 and 150. The exact number, and any redundancies that will need to be made, will depend on how successful the Trust is in reducing its pay costs with the above measures.

The Trust has deliberately weighted this process so that the majority of any post reductions will fall on administrative and management staff rather than on doctors, nurses or other front line health care workers.

The Trust is also developing a number of major projects that will fundamentally redesign the way in which patient care is delivered, so that it can continue to provide high quality patient care, teaching and research in the most up to date way. These leading-edge projects will enable St George’s to deliver excellent patient care even more efficiently.

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Peter Homa says:

“Given that we have to reduce our costs faster than we had planned, and that most of our costs are in our pay bill, we have to take action to reduce it.

“We are determined to minimize redundancies – which is why we must reduce our pay costs in any other way we can.

“While we know that they make an important indirect contribution to patient care, we also have to ensure that services are as unaffected as they can be – which is why we have chosen to ask for the biggest reductions in the cost of employing administrative staff.

“Unless we minimize our pay bill by reducing everything not absolutely necessary, we risk losing more jobs from the organization.

“We have already had great success at St George’s in reducing our costs by redesigning our services and improving them for patients at the same time. In the long term that is what we will continue to do. But in the short term we must take the action set out today to deliver a balanced budget.

“It is essential to see the tough action this year in the context of the longer term; when the far-reaching projects to redesign patient care are successfully in place. These major projects, supported by staff and patients, will ensure sustainable, highly efficient, patient-centred care.”

Notes to editors

  1. At the end of financial year 2004/05 St George’s reported a deficit of £21.7m. At the end of FY 2005/06 that had fallen to an in-year deficit of £11.5m.
  2. Last year St George’s reduced the number of posts within its workforce by 300.
  3. For further information please contact Tim Jones on 0208 725 5151.