Trust's bid to save £1m

AN NHS Trust could save as much as £1million a year by outsourcing the typing of consultants letters. Nick Carver, chief executive of East and North Hertford-shire NHS Trust, said the outsourcing of routine typing would save money – something which the T

AN NHS Trust could save as much as £1million a year by outsourcing the typing of consultants' letters.

Nick Carver, chief executive of East and North Hertford-shire NHS Trust, said the outsourcing of routine typing would save money - something which the Trust is being encouraged to do.

Mr Carver said consultants will dictate letters to GPs, the contents of the letter will then be sent "possibly to an Indian city". The letter will be typed up usually by a qualified medical secretary and sent back and checked for mistakes.

He stressed that no medical notes will be sent over nor will any information which will identify the patient.


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The outsourcing of letter typing has been the subject of a formal dispute being registered with the Trust by Amicus and Unison.

The unions have accepted that the Trust's plans to use a remote letter-typing service do not breach cabinet office guidelines.

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But union members are currently voting on a proposed package to manage change as the Trust continues with its plans to introduce a remote letter-typing service.

A Trust spokesman said the package offered to the unions proposed that where staff roles are changed, including the removal of posts, the Trust will work with any individual affected to first seek their redeployment.

If this is not possible, then the Trust will support retraining needs and finally the Trust would seek voluntary redundancies.

But Mr Carver said: "I can't guarantee there will be no redundancies."

The results of the ballot are expected soon.

CHILD health services, obstetrics and gynaecology services look set to be the first to change in an attempt to save an NHS Trust money.

The proposals, yet to be finalised, went to the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust board yesterday (Wednesday).

It is hoped the changes will bridge the gap in the Trust's finances.

The changes being proposed are:

* By 2008, moving further children's ambulatory health services to Lister, with the possibility of a paediatric hot clinic at QEII.

* By 2008, all in-patient gynaecology services would be provided at the Lister.

The Trust needs to spend £4m on new facilities at the Lister in order to make the changes possible.

Chief executive Nick Carver said: "The changes being discussed at this month's board will not only help us deliver our four-year financial recovery plan, they also allow us to start introducing the new ways of working that will become the norm once the hospital in Hatfield is built in 2013 in terms of these very important services."

The Trust expects to consult the public on these plans in late spring.

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