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Suffolk hospital boss ‘disappointed’ over A&E investment snub as health funding cut by £100m

PUBLISHED: 17:09 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:09 17 May 2018

West Suffolk Hospital boss Dr Stephen Dunn. Picture: GREGG BROWN

West Suffolk Hospital boss Dr Stephen Dunn. Picture: GREGG BROWN

More than £100 million in cuts were made to health services in Suffolk and north-east Essex last year, it has been revealed.

Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer of Suffolk's clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Picture: SUFFOLK CCGS/BEN CARMICHAELDr Ed Garratt, chief officer of Suffolk's clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Picture: SUFFOLK CCGS/BEN CARMICHAEL

Dr Ed Garratt told health chiefs today that every provider and commissioner across those areas had managed to meet their budgets in 2017/18.

This was made possible by delivering more than £100m of “savings”, said Dr Garratt, who is chief officer of Suffolk’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

These vast reductions were carried out as part of the work of the Suffolk and North East Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).

There are 44 STPs across England made up of NHS organisations and councils. They are tasked with revolutionising health and social care services in their area to meet rising demand and create financial stability.

West Suffolk Hospital Picture: GREGG BROWNWest Suffolk Hospital Picture: GREGG BROWN

In March this year, capital funding worth £87m was awarded to the Suffolk and North East Essex STP in recognition of its progress.

The majority of this money – £67m – will be spent supporting the upcoming merger of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.

Speaking at the meeting of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk Hospital, said the trust had hoped to get a slice of that cash to upgrade its A&E.

He said: “From a West Suffolk perspective we were disappointed we were not selected to get capital investment in our emergency department, especially given the winter pressures it’s really needed. Our emergency department is built for half the number of patients we currently see so it’s really, really needed.”

Dr Dunn called for the trust to be considered for any further STP capital, and said local MPs were supporting him on the issue.

“It has been incredibly tough to deliver levels of performance with the very tight budget environments we face but I think we are delivering in quite tough, challenging times and I think £100m worth of savings are real savings and require quite a lot of dedicated focus and work of health and care staff across the system and the challenges won’t get any easier over the next few years,” he added.

The Suffolk and North East Essex STP is bidding to become an Integrated Care System, which will give local leaders greater operational and financial control.

A decision is expected to be announced by NHS England this month.

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