STAFF at Musgrove Park Hospital have been offered pay-offs to leave as part of a £13million savings programme.

All employees were given the chance to apply to take a severance payment, with the amount based on how long they had worked there.

Bosses are now sifting through applications before deciding who will go.

The Mutually Agreed Resignation Scheme (MARS) is a national scheme developed in agreement with unions to help NHS organisations address their financial challenges.

Chris Perry, director of change at Musgrove, said: “We need to deliver savings in the region of £13million this financial year, while continuing to improve the quality, safety and experience of the care we provide to the patients we serve, which is why we launched a MARS scheme in March.

“MARS benefits employees in that those wishing to leave, in agreement with the hospital, will receive a severance payment which is calculated on their length of service.

“The hospital also benefits as the scheme then creates job vacancies which can be filled by the redeployment of staff from other jobs within the hospital.

“As this is not a redundancy scheme, it enables the organisation to reduce the number of posts, and therefore the pay-bill, in a more flexible way.”

All staff employed by Musgrove were eligible to apply before the March 28 closing date.

Applications are currently being reviewed and will only be supported if the departure of an employee, on voluntary terms, is in the financial and operational interests of the hospital and would not have an adverse effect on the quality of the care the hospital provides.