Cost-cutting measures revealed

IPSWICH Hospital is set to get colder during winter - and warmer during the summer - as cost cutting measures take a grip at Heath Road, the Evening Star can reveal today.

IPSWICH Hospital is set to get colder during winter - and warmer during the summer - as cost cutting measures take a grip at Heath Road, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The hospital's heating system is to be adjusted as a cost-cutting measure as the hospital struggles to fill its £7 million black hole.

These changes come as hundreds of jobs are under threat - the hospital had already announced that 105 posts could be axed before bosses identified a £7 million black hole in its finances.

That could force them to revise upwards the number of posts to be lost - although managers insist that the number of people to lose their jobs will be kept to a minimum.

Now managers have identified a list of 230 changes aimed at cutting costs at the Heath Road Hospital - from delaying the appointment of new consultants through to turning the heating down throughout the hospital.

The Evening Star obtained a list of the measures under freedom of information legislation - detailing each proposed move.

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Outlining the cost-cutting measures hospital chief executive Andrew Reed said: “Our financial problem is much bigger than we originally thought, due in part to a shortfall in expected income from a variety of sources.

“This is a major blow to the hospital at a time when our performance in other areas is improving, but we want to be absolutely honest and get everything out on the table.”

Among the moves proposed is scrapping plans to appoint a new senior chaplain at a cost of £43,000 a year. Instead the job will be carried out by part-time chaplains at a cost of £13,000.

Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said the cost of employing the chaplain included employer's National Insurance and pension costs as well as the salary.

She said: “This was the senior chaplain's post which has been vacant for some time. The salary is in line with a Church of England vicar, but of course a vicar has accommodation provided and this salary reflects the cost of providing a home.”

There had been two full-time chaplains and three working part-time at the hospital. Now all the chaplaincy work was being handled by the part-time team.

The temperature was being reduced across most of the hospital, but there would be no reduction in areas - such as the special care baby unit - where a high ambient temperature needed to be maintained.

The hospital will also enforce parking regulations more closely in attempt to raise more money.

Beds will be closed in Woodbridge and Sproughton wards at weekends and one operating theatre will be closed.

The length of stay for people having planned orthopaedic operations will be reduced - at present 60 pc of people arrive in hospital on the day of their operation and it intends to increase this figure to 75 pc.

Some proposed cost cutting measures:

Reduce temperature from 19C to 18C.

Switch off unnecessary air conditioning units.

Delay appointment of two consultants.

Appoint one new consultant in cardiology - to eliminate need for expensive locums.

Do not replace full-time senior chaplain.

Switch computers so they revert to standby after being idle for 10 minutes.

Disestablish vacant posts in the pharmacy.

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