Hospital accused of �133k cash ‘waste’

HOSPITAL bosses have been criticised for spending �133,000 on work with consultants to increase efficiency.

The East Anglian Daily Times has learned that West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has paid the money to Simpler over 12 months.

Gwen Nuttall, executive chief operating officer at the hospital, said in light of Government targets the hospital needed to find savings without compromising on the level of service to patients.

She said staff were being equipped with the skills to work more efficiently, while at the same time ensuring high standards.

But Bob Cockle, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Town Council, described the spending as “absolutely disgusting” and a “complete waste of money.”

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He said: “I do understand some of the consultants are real experts in what they do, but for a public service like hospitals, to my way of thinking, just think what you could do with �133,000?”

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said if you were employing someone to cut costs, they should be paid a percentage of the savings they achieve.

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He added: “It also seems odd to bring in an outside organisation when often those working at the coal face can best say what’s important for delivering services.”

Ms Nuttall said the Department of Health expected the NHS to find �15-�20billion of efficiency savings over the next four years, which equates to more than �5million of efficiency savings a year at West Suffolk Hospital. The hospital’s current annual budget is �136million.

Ms Nuttall said: “We need to make sure we can find these savings without compromising on the quality or safety of the service we provide for our patients.

“As such, we have introduced the transformation programme to look for new ways of working so that we can change the way we deliver services and increase efficiency whilst also continuing to improve the experience our patients have of using the hospital.”

A spokeswoman for the hospital added how the transformation programme was an ongoing programme, and Simpler had been used to train staff.

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