Exit scheme envisioned as Trust plans £3m. cut

The Western Trust.
The Western Trust.

The Western Trust is planning to cut £3.3m from its staffing costs this year as part of a wider savings plan.

Measures are now being taken forward to cut overtime, address absenteeism and reduce the use of agency and locum staff, while the Trust has said “access to a voluntary exit scheme with enabling funding is necessary to fully deliver savings”.

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust confirmed to the ‘Journal’ yesterday that there were no plans for compulsory redundancies to help close an overall £13m gaping hole in the government-imposed budget for the 2015/16 financial year.

She added: “A voluntary exit scheme will only be used if made available to Health and Social Care Trusts from the DHSSPSS and where the Trust is unable to secure redeployment opportunities for staff affected by organisational change through turnover and new developments.

“It is envisaged that savings plans for 2015/16 will be realised using voluntary exit schemes and not compulsory redundancies.”

She also confirmed that there had been no voluntary redundancies to date this year, while there were just two last year, both from the Human Resources Department.

“These were released to facilitate re-structuring,” the Trust spokeswoman said.

The total cost of paying wages and also funding temporary locum and agency workers last year amounted to £342m - over 60% of the total Western Trust budget.

Speaking about the impact the staffing budget cuts will have on services this year, the spokeswoman said: “Any reduction in workforce is in line with redesigned services and maintains safe staffing levels.”

The Savings Plan states that there will be a “strong emphaisis on securing savings from management and administration expenditure”.

The Western Trust is expecting to save a further £100,000 this year via “efficiences from Reform of Older People’s Day Care Services”.

The 2015/16 Savings Plan states: “The objective of this reform is to examine existing services to secure a service model which will provide a high quality, safe, sustainable, accessible and timely service which reflects the changing nature of support needs of our population as we age.

“The Trust is currently consulting on its reform of older people day care services to introduce a three tiered model that focuses on prevention, independence and choice through access to multiple services, increasing the use of voluntary, independent sectors and local resources centres to provide services that will prove to be more efficient and cost effective.”