The economic downturn is still affecting hospitals in New Jersey, US, with loss of jobs and services, according to a recent survey of New Jersey’s acute care hospitals.

The New Jersey Hospital Association survey said half of the state’s hospitals reduced jobs, cutting 43% of employees and eliminating 48% of vacant positions in 2009.

In 2009, one in three hospitals froze employee wages and nearly a quarter of hospitals implemented a hiring freeze, according to the report.

The report also said nearly a quarter of hospitals curtailed services and eliminated programmes including paediatric inpatient services and behavioural health services in 2009.

More than half of the state’s hospitals deferred building and improvement projects in the same period, due to a lack of capital and a rise in the cost of borrowing funds.

In addition, 28% of hospitals saw an increase in charity care patients, and 100% of hospitals witnessed a decline in fund raising and philanthropy in support of healthcare initiatives in 2009.

The survey was conducted in December 2009 and 43% of the state’s acute care hospitals responded.