STAFF at Poole Hospital are railing against cost saving initiatives as yet more bed closures are revealed.

The hospital, which had a £4.5 million operating deficit last year and needs to save £10 million this year, had announced it is closing an elderly ward and merging two surgical wards.

But it has now emerged that a further eight beds will close on a medical ward – bringing the total beds to close by August to 59.

More than 100 staff, mainly nurses, will be affected by the changes – and they are in the process of being redeployed to other roles.

A source close to the hospital said staff were shocked that beds were among the first things to go in the money-saving programme – and feared they would have to turn patients away at their busiest times.

“When winter comes there are just no beds – I can’t see how it’s going to work,” she added.

Hospital bosses have insisted the bed closures will be brought about through reducing the length of stay for some patients and avoiding unnecessary admissions.

A spokesman said the proposed changes to bed numbers were still being finalised, and in many cases overnight beds were being exchanged for day care and investigation facilities.

Unison south west regional organiser Mike Cracknell said staff were also upset by what they felt was a lack of consultation.

“It seems to be an issue of almost paying lip service to consultation. They are having meetings – but basically informing everyone. The decision has been taken already,” he said. A hospital spokesman insisted staff had been fully informed, but the hospital had not had a formal 90-day consultation “as that would only be necessary if there were to be job losses arising from the proposals, which is not the case”.