Debt weighs heavy around hospital's neck

IPSWICH Hospital's hopes of paying off more than half of its historic debt this year have been dealt a massive blow, it emerged today.

IPSWICH Hospital's hopes of paying off more than half of its historic debt this year have been dealt a massive blow, it emerged today.

The hospital had hoped to pay off £7.3million of the debt by the end of March, but money difficulties, which saw it lose £20,000 a day in June, mean that will almost certainly be impossible.

Finance chiefs now think the hospital will only be able to pay back £3.5million of the £12.3million historic debt the hospital had at the start of the financial year.

However there was good news for the hospital too as it made a profit of £438,000 in August thanks to savings achieved with no job losses.

Mark Madden, the hospital's director of finance and performance, said: “There will be concerns in terms of our ability to hit our plans (to save £7.3million).

“It is not going to be helpful (for the hospital's plans to become a foundation trust) but thankfully the underlying position of the trust is still quite positive.

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“For July and August there was a financial surplus which was generated despite a lower income than we had planned for which means our costs are coming down.”

The main reason for the lower than expected income for the hospital was because the volume of emergency admissions was much smaller than predicted.

Other factors which added financial pressures to the hospital were the cost of utilities and the change in the payment for hearing aids.

Are you concerned about Ipswich Hospital's financial situation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.