Health worker says staff are quitting Ilkeston hospital due to funding cuts

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A staff member at Ilkeston Community Hospital says that morale is low and that employees are quitting due to the impact of NHS funding cuts.

Sharon Howard, who has worked at the Heanor Road hospital for six years, made the comments ahead of a public meeting yesterday (Thursday, September 21), chaired by Erewash MP Maggie Throup, and including a host of NHS leaders.

Ms Howard, from Ilkeston, was among more than 70 members in the audience to question these leaders over the proposed £51 million in cuts which the Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) must make by April.

She said: “We want some explanation.

“We feel like we have been let down, staff are leaving, there are at least five that have left already and I myself am also looking for a job somewhere else.

“Morale is really low and we are looking after people with high dependency mental health, who need one-to-one care.

“At the end of their life they are being neglected, people should at least be able to die with their dignity, but they are not getting the attention they need due to low staff.

“Staff are leaving and are not going to be replaced.”

Ms Howard claims that she has been told that around six to 10 beds are set to be cut from Ilkeston Community Hospital on October 1.

She says that the decision has been made and that there is “no going back now”.

At the meeting William Jones, chief operating officer for Derbyshire Community Health Services – which oversees the hospital – denied repeatedly that beds were being cut.

He said: “We haven’t made any decisions about bed closures in Ilkeston.”

Mr Jones later reiterated, answering a question about how many beds would be lost, saying “none.”

Dr Chris Clayton, chief executive of the Derbyshire CCGs – which are undertaking plans for a full merger – said that a full review into beds in the county was under way.

However he said: “But we will not close beds until we are confident that we have the right replacements.”

The county’s four CCGs have been told by national NHS chiefs to make £51 million in cuts in the next nine months.

This is to bring a mounting £95 million deficit down to £44 million.

If the combined four CCGs, which organise NHS services in Derbyshire, reach this target by April next year, it will be written off.

However, if the £51 million in savings are not made by that deadline, then the CCGs must make the remaining savings.

Whether the organisations hit this target or not, they are in for further financial woes next year with proposed enforced savings of £71 million on the cards. This equates to around four per cent of their total budget.

The Derbyshire CCGs will spend nearly £1.6 billion on healthcare this year.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service