Leading hospital forced to shed 200 jobs

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A LEADING London teaching hospital has warned staff it must shed about 200 jobs to accommodate a projected pounds 2m drop in income next year, as health authority purchasers are forced to move contracts out of the capital, writes Judy Jones.

King's College Hospital, in south-east London, has written to all 4,000 staff asking for volunteers for redundancy, but warned that some may be compulsorily laid off if there are not enough applicants.

Derek Smith, its chief executive, said: 'The South East London Health Authority will have pounds 8m less to buy services from next April, compared with the current year. This will probably mean about pounds 2m less for King's. But . . . our contracts and workload are more stable and secure than those of any other hospital in London.'

South London health purchasers proposed this week that some or all of the specialist services offered at King's and Lewisham could go to Guy's or St Thomas's. Dulwich and Hither Green hospitals would close under the blueprint. King's notoriously inadequate accident and emergency department - where patients can spend hours waiting for beds - is set to see a 25 per cent increase in its workload.

The NHS trust that runs Guy's and St Thomas's is expected to publish its blueprint for their future in October.

People who feel they or their relatives have had a raw deal from the NHS are being invited to submit evidence to a government inquiry. The address is: Neil Paterson, Secretary, NHS Complaints Review Committee, GW14, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UE.