MARY Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge has been forced to make job cuts to help save costs, it has emerged.

Up to five members of staff have been or are facing the chop - chief executive Peter Holliday told the News this week.

He said he could not confirm exact numbers or exactly how much the Oldswinford based hospice hopes to save but it is believed the job cuts and a reduction in staff working hours will put more than £100,000 back into coffers of the charity which costs £2.2m each year to run.

Mr Holliday said: “For several years the delivery of patient services has been at the expense of the income of the hospice. The hospice can’t continue to run at a deficit.

“We’ve implemented a small restructure which maintains patient services but allows us to save on costs.

“Several people have already accepted voluntary redundancy - there have been no compulsory redundancies and no other jobs are under threat.”

Mr Holliday, who was appointed to manage the hospice last September - whilst also continuing to run Lichfield’s St Giles Hospice, said both clinical and administrative roles were among those being axed and he added that some of the affected staff have already left while some continue to work their notice.

He continued: “We’re looking to save a significant sum of money but we have restructured in such a way that we do not believe delivery to patients will be affected.

“It allows us to put Mary Stevens Hospice on a very firm footing for the future.

But a source close to the Hagley Road hospice said: “They say it’s to save costs but it’s strange they’ve brought this guy in.

“It’s probably to pay for his wage.

“It just makes us feel a bit angry - it’s the people who work there with the patients who’ve lost their jobs. I just think it’s bad the way they’ve been treated.”

But Mr Holliday said, although the hospice had been buoyed in recent years by legacies left by supporters, the charity “has for several years been spending more than it’s banking”.

He added: “If we hadn’t taken action the long-term future of the hospice would be at risk.”