Health bosses' money saving 'success'

HEALTH bosses in east Suffolk have claimed their money saving over the last year has been a “tremendous achievement” after reducing their debt by £17.4million.

HEALTH bosses in east Suffolk have claimed their money saving over the last year has been a “tremendous achievement” after reducing their debt by £17.4million.

The Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) released the figures ahead of their board meeting papers being available today .

And the trust said their financial performance “fully justifies” the board's insistence on a rigorous recovery programme, which has led to some difficult and unpopular decisions.

A report from the trusts' finance director Julian Herbert to the board of directors will say: “In 2004-5 we overspent by £14.1m but this figure has been reduced this year to an underspend of £3.3m.

“This has reduced our overall accumulated debt from £22.6m to £19.3m. The improvements have been delivered through savings in every area of the Primary Care Trusts' expenditure.”

Tony Robinson, lead chair of the trusts, said yesterday : “This is immensely encouraging. It fully justifies the stance of the board on insisting on a rigorous recovery and reform programme and taking some difficult and unpopular decisions to make it work.”

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Suffolk East PCTs' chief executive Carole Taylor-Brown added: “This is a tremendous achievement for everyone involved and shows that our financial recovery plan is working extremely well.

“I would like to express my thanks to all members of staff, GPs and colleagues for all their hard work in making this achievement possible.

“At the same time as achieving these significant financial milestones, performance against health targets has remained at a high level and hospital waiting times have been successfully reduced.”

She said the new PCT that will be formed later this year covering everywhere in Suffolk except Waveney would now have a “very strong structure for financial well-being in the near future”.

But she added that the trusts still have a “very challenging programme ahead” to repay the £19.3m historic debt and break even.

“We are very much aware that our partnership organisations are experiencing very significant financial challenges and we continue to work constructively with them to achieve an improved financial situation across the whole health and social care system,” she said.

The board agenda and papers will be available at www.suffolkeast.nhs.uk from today ahead of the public meeting on May 24 at 10.15am at Kesgrave Community Centre.