A MAJOR ward is set to close next month at Milton Keynes Hospital as part of a ‘transformation’ programme.
The move will save hard-pushed hospital bosses £800,000 a year.
It comes weeks after the closure of Ward 18 which specialised in surgery.
But bosses have already promised there will be no redundancies, and staff will posted elsewhere in the hospital.
Ward 17 is one of two wards specialising in orthopaedic and trauma patients.
The second, Ward 21, will remain open and may even take more overspill beds, says the Trust.
Bosses refer to the closure as a ‘reconfiguration’ under the hospital’s transformation programme.
The basis of the cost-cutting plan is that patients will, on average, be discharged one day earlier.
Dr Milan Bhattacharya said: “We are aiming to prevent unnecessary waits in hospital and ensure patients are treated in the right place at the right time, with a smoother journey through the system.”
“This means that patients can be safely discharged earlier, whether to their own home or an appropriate community unit.”
The closure has already been agreed in principle and staff will be consulted this month.
Dr Bhattacharya said: “Moves are expected to commence in September. Disruption to patients will be kept to a minimum.”
The Trust needs to save £27.7 million over the next two years and city critics have already voiced fears that patients in Milton Keynes will suffer.
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