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NHS Tayside to shed 10% of workers in bid to make savings

The change will come through 'natural staff turnover', not redundancies, said the board.

Reporting by Steven Brown

NHS Tayside could shed 10% of its workforce in a bid to make savings.

A report that went before the board said there was an "acceptance that staff levels need to reduce by 10%".

It means that around 1,300 staff could go under the proposals, although the health board says there will be no compulsory redundancies.

NHS Tayside, which has a workforce of around 13,500, was one of a number of health boards to have around £150m worth of debt written off by the Scottish Government.

NHS Tayside Director of Workforce, Annie Ingram, said: "Over the past two years, NHS Tayside has carried out a number of workforce benchmarking exercises which showed NHS Tayside's spending on workforce is higher than similarly sized health boards.

"We spend around £540m on staff ever year and we have a responsibility to ensure that our public funding is spent in the best possible way.

"Patient safety and clinical care remain a top priority for NHS Tayside but we must also achieve financial balance,"

The health board said any reductions will come through "natural staff turnover".

However, Scottish Labour have criticised the move saying it would be a 'recipe for disaster'.

Scottish Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, Monica Lennon said: "Cutting over 1000 jobs is not a rescue plan for Scotland's worst performing health board. It's a recipe for disaster that could risk patient safety and staff wellbeing at NHS Tayside for many years to come.

"The dilemma facing NHS Tayside is the legacy of the former Health Secretary Shona Robison, herself a Dundee MSP and will cast doubt on the seriousness of her replacement Jeane Freeman to rescue the troubled health board.

"The financial chaos and risk that has plagued NHS Tayside is not the fault of its loyal and dedicated workforce nor is it fair on the patients. For NHS Tayside to be considering cutting staffing by 10 per cent, at a time when staff are already overworked and stressed, is unbelievable and raises serious safety concerns."

A Scottish Government Spokesperson said: "Patient safety and quality of care are top priorities for the Scottish Government. That is why the Scottish Government will not seek to recover historic brokerage provided to NHS Tayside, and the Board will be provided with a financial clean slate in 19-20 to enable them to implement the measures set out in the health and social care delivery plan.

"It is right that NHS Tayside keeps its workforce under review - it is the responsibility of individual health boards to deliver good workforce planning, making sure that they have the right people with the right skills in the right place.

"NHS Tayside's resource budget has increased by 9% in real terms between 2010‑11 and 2018‑19.

"As with all NHS Boards, we are working with Tayside to make sure patients benefit from a consistently high level of care across the board as they return to financial balance."

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