Another Midland hospital trust has announced job cuts as it struggles to stay within its budget.

Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Cannock and Stafford, is to axe more than 150 jobs in a bid to make savings of #10 million next year.

It is the latest in a series of hospitals to cut posts to try to balance the books.

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Chief executive Martin Yeates said the trust would avoid going into deficit this year, and would also stay within budget next year as a result of the "fairly tough decisions" it had made.

About two thirds of the posts lost would be managerial rather than clinical positions, he said.

Earlier this month North Staffordshire NHS Trust said it needed to shed 1,000 jobs to clear a #30 million deficit, while Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital announced 300

jobs would be axed to balance the books.

More than 4,000 job losses have been announced at hospitals across the country over the past few weeks.

Mr Yeates said the trust had instigated changes, including a ban on the use of agency staff, over the past 12 months, in a bid to keep its finances under control.

He said: "In order to move to achieve our commitment of excellent, accessible and sustainable services, tough decisions need to be taken now

rather than reacting halfway through next year.

"Our proactive position will ensure that we continue to develop services whilst maintaining financial balance."

Funding had become an issue because of reductions in the hospital's income caused by more patients being cared for in the community, and patients being treated by the private sector, he said.

Hospitals have also been told to find efficiency savings of 2.5 per cent next year. "We have got a gap between

income and expenditure of #10 million next year."

Most of the posts lost would be through voluntary redundancy or not filling vacant positions, he said.

The hospital had made major improvements in performance in recent years, and no in-patient has waited more than six months for treatment, and no outpatient has waited longer than 13 weeks, he said.

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