NHS trust responds to leaked letter detailing 'headcount reduction' plans

PUBLISHED: 12:12 19 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:12 19 February 2016

Welwyn Hatfield's local NHS trust has responded to a leaked letter stating some hospitals will be asked to consider cutting staff to address spiralling debts.

As reported in The Guardian, NHS regulators Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA) sent all trusts a letter on January 15 stating: “We will be meeting a number of challenged providers this month to agree a set of actions, including headcount reduction.”

A Monitor spokeswoman confirmed the letter was “leaked” to the press, and a TDA spokesman confirmed it was sent to East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which includes Welwyn Garden City’s New QE11 Hospital and Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

A trust spokesperson told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We are clear that cutting clinical staff numbers is not part of the solution.

“On the contrary, we will continue to recruit to our approved vacancies, in particular nursing. This will mean less reliance on temporary staff, especially from agencies, which will reduce our staffing costs.”

A Monitor spokeswoman said “headcount reduction” would target agency staff, rather than those working permanently at trusts such as nurses.

She added: “We are supporting the NHS to ensure organisations have the right amount of staff with appropriate skills in permanent jobs, rather than having to rely on expensive agency staff to plug long-term gaps.”

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