THE Unison union has voiced its concern over proposed cuts in the NHS budget, which it estimates could result in 40,000 job cuts in England alone. In North Devon, hospital staff are being invited to meetings to discuss the way ahead. Job losses planned na

THE Unison union has voiced its concern over proposed cuts in the NHS budget, which it estimates could result in 40,000 job cuts in England alone.

In North Devon, hospital staff are being invited to meetings to discuss the way ahead.

Job losses planned nationally so far this year have topped 11,000, the latest of which were announced at the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust where 600 posts are to go as part of a bid to save £60million over three years.

This week, a spokesperson for Northern Devon Healthcare Trust told the Gazette the Trust was still unsure of the impact the Government spending cuts would have on jobs in North Devon.

"The White Paper is still very new and there is a lot of detail still to come," said head of communications Katherine Allen.

"The only thing we can be certain of is that we will be asked to save money but we do not know how that is going to translate yet."

She said the Trust was holding around 40 meetings throughout August and September to ask front line staff about any ideas they had to help the Trust to run more efficiently.

"As a Trust, we will have to think differently and it is likely that people's jobs are going to change," added Mrs Allen.

"That is why we are currently undertaking a massive staff engagement exercise to ask front-line staff their ideas about how we can play out part in the Government savings.