Funding shortfall forces job cuts

Up to 40 posts are set to be axed at a Norfolk mental health trust as it strives to make up a £5m funding shortfall.

Up to 40 posts are set to be axed at a Norfolk mental health trust as it strives to make up a £5m funding shortfall.

The jobs to be cut by the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust, which employs 2,200 people, are 25 nursing and clinical staff, 10 clinical support and five non-clinical workers.

The trust has also been reducing its use of temporary staff to secure employment for its own. In April and May last year, the trust spent £116,000 on agency nursing staff; in April and May this year, it spent just over £16,000.

The decision about redundancies was made this week by the trust board's finance committee, which is also looking at making other savings by merging the telecommunications and IT support services; and considering a pay-and-display car parking scheme for visitors to the trust's main sites for staff and visitors, in line with other NHS trusts.

Formal consultations over the posts to be cut will start at the end of the month.

The mental health trust is also in the process of applying for foundation status, which would give it more control of its own affairs and not mean it has to contribute to the cost of other health trusts in the region that are underperforming financially.

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Public meetings are being held across Norfolk and the Waveney area to discuss plans for the bid for NHS Foundation Trust status.

They will be at the Astral Centre at Lowestoft College, St Peter's Street, Lowestoft, next Wednesday at 10am; at the West Norfolk Professional Development Centre, Kilham's Way, King's Lynn, on Friday, July 21, from 10am; and in the Music Room at The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich, on Thursday, August 3, from 2pm.

To become an NHS Foundation Trust, it must recruit at least 4,500 members from the community and from its own staff.

If you would like to become a member of the new mental health NHS Foundation Trust, or request a speaker for your group, call 01603 421494, e-mail foundationtrust@ nwmhp.nhs.uk or write to NWMHP Foundation Trust office, 1st Floor, Hellesdon Hospital, Norwich

NR6 5BE.