The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust has announced plans to lose 100 beds and 480 jobs in an attempt to save 25 million from next years budget, a figure representing seven percent of the hospitals annual turnover. According to Royal Free chief executive Andrew Way, the savings must be made to achieve the financial balance necessary for the hospital to become a Foundation Trust by 2007/8. Patient associations and trade union representatives have expressed concern over the impact of the cuts on patient care and safety at the hospital. However, hospital chiefs claim that by extending outpatient treatment and reorganizing staff rosters, current levels of care will only be minimally affected. Staff are currently being consulted on the proposed changes. Consultations are due to end on 14 April.
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