DUDLEY’S MP has demanded Government ministers sort out the financial crisis at Russells Hall Hospital before patient care is put at risk.

Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North, spoke out in the House of Commons after the Dudley hospital’s chief executive warned budget reductions are threatening patient care and admitted plans for a new urgent care centre cannot be guaranteed in the face of such financial adversity.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Russells Hall, has already confirmed one in ten of its 4,200 staff will be axed as a result of government spending cuts and in a letter to the Labour MP trust boss Paula Clark admitted: “Even 200 job cuts is only 50 per cent towards the £16-18million we need to find.”

She said the "scale of the financial challenge has reached unprecedented and unviable levels” and that over a third of NHS providers rejected national payment proposals for 2015/16 as under such circumstances they “can no longer guarantee safe and sustainable care”.

She said she fears the Dudley Group cannot make the required cuts of 3.8 per cent “without affecting the services we provide” and, in the face of rising demand and costs, the trust “would need to make far higher efficiency savings of between six and ten per cent next year to remain financially viable”.

Her explosive letter to the MP continues: “If these proposals go ahead, we expect this excessive efficiency requirement to destabilise our finances to the extent that we could not guarantee our ability to maintain or invest in improvements to patient care and services.

“These include the permanent purpose-built urgent care centre, upgrading ward and clinic areas, and new hybrid theatre for vascular surgery.”

She said it was “critical” that efficiency savings are set at two per cent as research commissioned by Monitor shows that is the maximum achievable rate.

Ms Clark’s letter also criticises rules that mean hospitals like Russells Hall get paid a fraction of the costs of treatment for rare conditions and that funds allocated to Dudley are being returned to Clinical Commissioning Groups to balance NHS budgets nationally and bail out overspending in other areas.

Mr Austin, who has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him to address the concerns highlighted by Ms Clark, said: “Everyone knows the pressure the hospital is under.

“Local people are really worried about what will happen if the hospital has to lose one in ten staff, and now we have it in black and white – these cuts threaten patient care.

“It could even mean the urgent care centre that is supposed to replace the Holly Hall Walk-in Centre never gets built.”

Afzal Amin, Dudley North Conservative candidate and a Russells Hall outpatient, said: "The issues the hospital faces are much more from the interest that's being paid on PFI costs than efficiency savings."

He added: "A strong NHS is dependent on a strong economy and while we are on the road to recovery efficiency savings are very necessary and achieving a balance is very important."