HEALTH bosses in Gwent are looking to make workforce savings of £24 million during the next three years – equivalent to a cut of 600 full-time posts.

The proposal, included in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s integrated medium term plan, would involve all 18 departments and divisions of an organisation that is Gwent’s largest single employer.

But some departments would shoulder much more of the burden than others, with more than a quarter of the posts earmarked in scheduled care, just over 100 from the family and therapies division, and almost 100 from scheduled care.

The health board employs more than 13,300 staff, but given a significant number are part-time, the full or whole time equivalent is around 10,700.

Workforce savings will have a huge role to play in helping the health board bridge an £82million funding gap over the next three years, but these savings must be made while ensuring services can be safely maintained.

Service reorganisation is a key focus of the health board too, with a need to change the way it provides services in the run-up to the proposed opening of the Specialist and Critical Care Centre in 2019.

That will bring some services onto one site, while the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall Hospitals will be adapted for different roles.

These changes will bring different ways of providing services too, with more of an emphasis on care based in the community and at primary care level.

The medium term plan report states: “We will be seeking to avoid redundancies wherever possible, by redeploying and re-skilling staff, and by ensuring all our services are designed to be as efficient as possible, while keeping to our core principles of delivering high quality, safe patient services.”

Ending or restricting recruitment in some areas, phasing out vacant posts, and voluntary early release schemes are among the ways in which posts are likely to be cut.

The health board is also looking at ways in which it might cut bank and agency nursing and other staff costs.