Western Trust bosses have confirmed they are looking at cutting their workforce in a bid to slash their deficit.
The Trust confirmed to the Journal that staffing was one of various areas now being examined to see where savings can be made “in a very challenging financial environment”.
The confirmation comes after fears were expressed that there could be lay-offs among staff or temporary workers in the near future.
The Trust is understood to have now submitted proposals for cuts to both the Department of Health and the Health and Social Care Board.
The Department and Board, it is believed, will decide over the coming weeks where the axe needs to fall, and instruct the Trust accordingly.
It is understood the other health trusts across the north are facing similar pressures, with Health Minister Jim Wells expected to make a statement on the overall shortfall in the health service budget shortly.
A spokeswoman for the Western Trust confirmed: “The Trust is currently looking at a number of work force controls to help the organisation meet its break even obligation at the end of this current financial year.”
She elaborated: “Like all Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland, the Western Trust is facing a very challenging financial environment.
“The Trust reported a deficit at the end of August 2014 of £15.7m.
“The Trust is currently examining ways in which it can make the most efficient and best use of its resources for the most effective provision of patient and client care.
“A number of additional financial measures have been proposed to help control
“The Trust has been asked to develop additional contingencies by our Commissioner, the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to ensure a break even
position this year.
“We are working with the HSCB and the Department of Health on our proposals to ensure that the Trust breaks even by the end of this financial year 2014/15.”