Books to be balanced at Ipswich Hospital

FINANCE bosses at Ipswich Hospital said they are now likely to balance the books after a huge drive to find savings of more than £4.5 million.The hospital has worked with the three primary care trusts in east Suffolk, to reduce the residual deficit to £200,000.

FINANCE bosses at Ipswich Hospital said they are now likely to balance the books after a huge drive to find savings of more than £4.5 million.

The hospital has worked with the three primary care trusts in east Suffolk, to reduce the residual deficit to £200,000.

Ipswich Hospital Trust will draw upon £155,000 of funding it has recently received, along with £260,000 from its capital programme and almost £1m contributed by the primary care trusts to offset the overspend from 2001/02.

These one-off measures should rein the budget back into more manageable figures, but bosses said there was no room for complacency.

In his report to the Ipswich Hospital Trust Board, finance and performance director Chris Dooley said resolving last year's deficit remained highly challenging and there was no room for relaxing any of the strong financial controls already in place.

Of the £4.5m savings, £2.75m were cash-releasing efficiency savings and £2m towards resolving a £7m hole revealed by a Suffolk-wide review of health budgets.

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A hospital spokeswoman said: "It is tremendous news that we now stand a real chance of achieving all our financial targets this year."

She added it was important for the hospital to start each new year with a "clean slate".

The trust has been extremely busy over recent months with five "red alert" days in November – when there are less than eight beds available in the whole hospital.

Despite continual pressure on the system, it continued to make progress towards achieving national waiting time and access targets and achieved 100% compliance in cancer waiting times in November.

But inpatient figures have deteriorated over the year, with 7,702 on the waiting list at the end of November – 758 behind plans for the month and 986 behind the year-end position. The number of patients waiting more than 12 months was 195 against a plan of 44.

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