TWO Dorset hospital trusts are planning to save money by contracting out some of their office functions, placing 22 jobs at risk.

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Poole Hospital have put their transactional finance services out to tender and the contract is likely to be awarded out of the area.

Staff and trade union representatives from the hospitals are taking part in a consultation, which is due to end on January 20.

A spokesman for the hospitals said: “Both trusts will make every effort to ensure that staff at risk are supported through the process and redeployed within the organisation where possible. Both trusts have committed to improve the efficiency of all corporate services so that savings can be reinvested into frontline patient services.”

In 2010, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals chief executive Tony Spotswood, pictured, led a national review aimed at finding more cash for frontline health services.

He concluded that the NHS in England could save up to £1billion a year – including £6.4 million in Dorset – by sharing or privatising administrative teams, but admitted there would be job losses.

“It’s no longer sustainable for every organisation to have all these services provided,” he told the Echo in November, 2010.

“The NHS has got to save £15-20billion in the next four years to ensure we keep pace with changes in technology and inflation in the health service.”

Poole and RBCH are having to find £26million of savings in the next three years. Their boards of directors have agreed in principle to merge the trusts, but the decision still has to be approved by the regulator.