Up to 200 beds at two hospitals are going to close to save money, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has announced.

The trust, which runs Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals, said it has to save between £27m and £30m in the 2010/ 11 financial year. The first phase will see 95 beds close in four wards at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital from 1 April. The first phase of closures will be in a rehabilitation ward, Ward 2A, Acute Care Unit B and Neurology. A Unison spokesman said he was “dismayed” at the announcement. The prospective savings represent a 6.5% reduction on the previous year’s budget. The staff at the hospitals, which have 1,128 in-patient beds, were told the news earlier this week.

Ian Ducat, regional secretary of Unison South West, said: “Closing a rehabilitation ward may deliver short term savings, but patients will take longer to recover without the specialist help they need to get back on their feet. “We understand that times are difficult, but the loss of so many beds will have serious consequences for local people.” He said pressures on staff to deliver the same level of service would be “enormous”.

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