Ipswich: Chief exec speaks of shock at hospital’s finances and warns of tough times ahead

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of Ipswich Hospital. Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of Ipswich Hospital.

Monday, April 7, 2014
9:00 AM

The chief executive of Ipswich Hospital has said the state of the trust’s finances gave him “a bit of a shock” when he took over exactly a year ago – and admitted there were still tough challenges ahead.

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However Nick Hulme said that while the hospital faces some difficult times to overturn its deficit, he vowed to not compromise on patient care.

When Mr Hulme picked up the reins last year, he expected to find a well-run hospital delivering a good standard of care.

“What I discovered was the care is better than good,” he added. “But we are not consistent and we still get it wrong.

“In rare cases patients have experiences I wouldn’t want my family to have to go through.

“The finances were significantly worse than I thought which was a bit of a shock but if I was given the choice of the money was worse than the care, that’s what I would prefer.

“It would be more worrying if the care was not of a good quality.”

Earlier in the year the hospital received £7.5million from NHS England to help rectify its financial position.

Mr Hulme said: “We have some very robust plans going into next year. We have had some additional help this year which is an investment in our future rather than a bailout.

“The money we were given was not a loan. It was additional income to support our position this year.

“Next year we are planning to have a deficit of just over £5m and the year after we are planning a break even budget.

“Although we could have put in a break even budget this year, it would have required us to find more savings, and following discussions with clinicians, I don’t believe we could have achieved that without risk to patient care and I’m not prepared to condone any savings to risk that.

“It’s dependent on delivering a similar level of savings in this financial year and that will be challenging.”

Mr Hulme, who joined the Trust from Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals, he is proud of the hospital’s work in delivering money, quality and access.

He added: “Traditionally Ipswich Hospital has found it difficult to deliver all three at the same time.

“This year we have delivered on our access targets with A&E, diagnostics, cancer and 18 weeks, with a few hiccups but our end position means we are delivering on all of those.

“We are particularly proud of the work we have achieved in A&E because six months ago we were one of the worst performing hospitals across the patch and are now in the top 10 hospitals in the country which is a brilliant turnaround.

“It shows when we concentrate on a specific area where we have a problem, be it quality, money or access, we will deliver without affecting any of the others.”

Mr Hulme, who sees his long-term future in the health service at Ipswich Hospital, said he would like to see continual improvements with regards to the staff survey and is thinking ahead to the hospitals three-year and five-year plans.

He added: “We remain ambitious to become a foundation trust but to do that we need to demonstrate to Monitor that we are a sustainable, both financially and clinically, organisation going forward.

“We have got some exceptional care and a strong leadership team, which is clinically led, and I’m incredibly optimistic about the future.”

11 comments

  • Let's hope that Mr Hulme does a better job than he apparently did before "disappearing" at Croydon in 2012!

    Report this comment

    england1770

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • Its very nice that he is doing all this at a little bit over minimum wage... NOT! The top end of NHS greed destroys the organisation... you have talent, but its not football... reduce the salaries before even thinking about reducing patient care. The politics inside the NHS is outrageous. The only goal they have is gaining foundation status at any cost. Fixed tiered salary per performance should be implemented. A capped salary should be set with multipliers i.e. a superb well run hospital the cap amount is multiplied by 1... a good hospital... multiplied by 0.8 .. a satisfactory hospital... multiplied by 0.6 .. a poor hospital... multiplied by 0.6 - there certainly would be improvements to prevent a "pay cut" in effect.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • How can hospitals cope when we have half of eastern europe to look after? Vote UKIP.

    Report this comment

    RC

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • @RC wear your swastika with pride.Vote UKIP might as well vote tory remember that. if you want to lose vital servies.Why does this hark back to the 80s when the NHS was overloaded with middle management .The amount a manager & his secretary earn could run a ward for 6 months.But lets see them now bully the front line doctors & nurses & make them redundant to save managements bonuses

    Report this comment

    JC

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • good hospital [ great staff nurses etc]the money going into the hospital is not enough.all the lottery funds should go to hospitals . care etc

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • @RC wear your swastika with pride.Vote UKIP might as well vote tory remember that. if you want to lose vital servies.Why does this hark back to the 80s when the NHS was overloaded with middle management .The amount a manager & his secretary earn could run a ward for 6 months.But lets see them now bully the front line doctors & nurses & make them redundant to save managements bonuses

    Report this comment

    JC

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • He can start by cutting his wage in half, but hang on he cannot possibly do that can he?

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • -- But i'm alright I still get my wedge.-- Believe that was missed from the story

    Report this comment

    a west

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • good hospital [ great staff nurses etc]the money going into the hospital is not enough.all the lottery funds should go to hospitals . care etc

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • That should read "a poor hospital... multiplied by 0.3" (used the num pad, pressed the wrong key!)

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Monday, April 7, 2014

  • @RC wear your swastika with pride.Vote UKIP might as well vote tory remember that. if you want to lose vital servies.Why does this hark back to the 80s when the NHS was overloaded with middle management .The amount a manager & his secretary earn could run a ward for 6 months.But lets see them now bully the front line doctors & nurses & make them redundant to save managements bonuses

    Report this comment

    JC

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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