Letter: Saving money in hospital services

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Sir: Alan Meyer (letter, 27 January) understands your story 'Jobs cut to help fund hospital' (26 January) to mean that the pounds 23m a year revenue savings, which we have said will be secured from the opening of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, will not be achieved.

Not so. That sum will be achieved with full effect from next year, the first complete year following the opening of the new hospital and the transfer of services from the four others. Savings this year will be pounds 7m and not the pounds 1.2m stated in your report, which are the savings released from reductions in junior doctors in the year 1993-94.

Incidentally, the Independent's headline is a logical nonsense, in implying that the savings on consultant salaries in some way could prop up the cost of building the hospital. That is, of course, not the point at all. By providing services from one hospital, instead of five, we save considerable sums by removing duplicated services.

Three-quarters of the cost of the NHS goes in salaries and thus when we save money, regrettably, jobs go, too. That was precisely the original intention of the project, as Mr Meyer reports to you, and that is what we will achieve.

Yours faithfully,

IAN DONNACHIE

Chief Executive

Riverside Health, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

London, SW10

28 January

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