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SCANDAL HOSPITAL AXES 100 MORE WORKERS.

Bosses at Scotland's most controversial private hospital are to axe a quarter of their staff.

A hundred of the 433 workers will lose their jobs at Health Care International.

The move comes less than five years after the Tories poured pounds 40million of public cash into the Clydebank hospital.

Top doctors are among those who will lose their jobs, along with managers, secretaries and porters.

Labour health spokesman Malcolm Chisholm said last night that the move proved the Tories had thrown away taxpayers' cash.

He added: "It would have been better putting the money into the NHS."

Jim Devine, of health union Unison, said the cash could have paid for more nurses and new NHS hospital wards.

He said: "We are obviously disappointed when anybody loses their job but we said from the start this was a seriously flawed project.

"We will be writing to Michael Forsyth to demand not another penny of public money is spent on this and that HCI gets no more NHS contracts."

Ian Lang ploughed more than pounds 37million into HCI when he was Scots Secretary in the early 1990s, but the hospital went bust months after opening in 1994.

It has since limped on after being bought out by Arab businessmen and received a further injection of public cash.

An HCI spokesman said no nurses would go in the job cuts, which will be based in depart- ments which weren't profitable.

The hospital will instead focus on their five most successful specialities, including child heart surgery, cancer services and kidney transplants.

The spokesman said most work would come from foreign patients paying for treatment - but he warned HCI would be "aggres-sively" looking for NHS work.

Chief executive Mike Hall said losing staff was "regrettable", adding: "We have to embrace an often tough and practical business culture."

A Scottish Office spokesman said last night: "It is clearly disappointing that the company has had to take this step.

"But it has stressed its plans to expand the business at Clydebank over the coming years."
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Little, Tom
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 20, 1997
Words:338
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