Unison 'shocked' by University Hospital North Staffordshire job cut plans
The Unison union has said it is in "total shock" over plans to cut 400 jobs over the next year at University Hospital North Staffordshire (UHNS).
The proposals are among a series of measures put forward by the hospital trust in efforts to save £22m.
The trust said it faced a "tough financial challenge," but that services and quality of care would be protected.
The union said it did not see how jobs could be cut without compromising patient safety.
Rob Irving, from the UHNS branch, said: "Whether it's nurses, healthcare assistants, ward clerks, administrative staff - it's going to have an effect on patients.
"Post Francis [report], I've no idea how these job cuts can be made. It's like we haven't learnt the lessons of Mid Staffs."
In February Robert Francis QC published a report into failings at Stafford Hospital 2005-2009, including recommendations to set minimum staffing levels.
UHNS faces an underlying deficit which is expected to rise to £41m by the end of the 2013-14 financial year.'Out of the blue'
Despite the deficit, Mr Irving said news of job cuts had "come totally out of the blue" and had not previously been mentioned in meetings with hospital managers.
The hospital trust said the cuts were expected to be made over the 2013-14 financial year and as far as possible would focus on reducing the number of expensive agency staff and not filling vacant posts.
It said it also planned to make savings through better procurement, partnerships, improved housekeeping and increased productivity.
The trust has also hired consultants Ernst & Young to help find additional savings.
Ian Syme, from the watchdog Staffordshire Healthwatch, said it was unclear what posts would go, but that it was "bound to affect frontline staff".
He said even cuts to administrative staff could directly affect patients, as they contribute to the smooth running of a hospital.