Hospital cutbacks given go-ahead
HOSPITAL bosses last night gave the green light to a raft of measures aimed at helping them claw back a multi-million pound debt.In an emotionally-charged meeting of the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, board members agreed the business and financial plan for 2006/07 - which includes cutting 105 posts.
HOSPITAL bosses last night gave the green light to a raft of measures aimed at helping them claw back a multi-million pound debt.
In an emotionally-charged meeting of the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, board members agreed the business and financial plan for 2006/07 - which includes cutting 105 posts.
A student nurse at Suffolk College broke down in tears at the meeting as she criticised members for their decision, saying she felt “betrayed”.
The woman, who was so upset she had to leave the meeting, said: “You talk about saving public money but you have invested £60,000 in my education over the last three years and now the chances are that taxpayers will have to fork out money for my benefits at the end of it when there is no job available.”
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The business plan outlines a number of ways in which the trust hopes to make £16m worth of savings by the end of next March in a bid to pay back its historic debt and enable it to break even in line with Government targets.
Other measures include plans to restructure wards, change community midwifery services and review theatre sessions to make them more efficient.
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Andrew Reed, chief executive of the hospital trust, stressed not all cuts would be through redundancies because there were already many unfilled posts due to the current policy of freezing vacancies.
He said: “At the moment we have identified £13m worth of savings, which in the scheme of things is a great achievement, but clearly there is still more to do.
“Around 70% of our costs are workforce-related and therefore if we are going to save money then the workforce has to play a part.
“The current estimate is that 105 posts will be lost from across the hospital and I want to make it clear this is posts not people. We will also be looking at management and backroom costs because the more we save in non-clinical areas the less we have to save in clinical practices.
“Last year we lost 100 posts without job losses and clearly the aim this year is to minimise the impact but we still can't rule out redundancies.
“What I can guarantee is that we will go through all the proper processes for every post and where we can we will find suitable alternative employment for those people.”
The plan also proposes to raise car park charges for staff at the hospital by as much as four times the current rate - although this is still to be formally agreed.
Mr Reed concluded: “It is clear there is still work to be done and we have to look at what we do and how we do it but by continuing as we are we will not solve the problem.
“It is a very great challenge that faces us all and it is going to get more so but it is absolutely essential that Ipswich Hospital maintains its clinical quality and its positions as the best provider of secondary health care in the area.”