Even more savings needed at hospital

HUNDREDS of jobs could go at Ipswich Hospital as they struggle to save £25 million in less than a year, the Evening Star can reveal today.The massive financial challenge has been described by senior bosses as “one of the most challenging in the NHS”, meaning drastic measures will have to be taken if they are to get back into the black by next April.

HUNDREDS of jobs could go at Ipswich Hospital as they struggle to save £25 million in less than a year, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The massive financial challenge has been described by senior bosses as “one of the most challenging in the NHS”, meaning drastic measures will have to be taken if they are to get back into the black by next April.

And chief executive Andrew Reed barely contained his frustration at the hospital's ever growing cash crisis when he said: “I feel extremely uncomfortable about being the chief executive of an organisation that appears to have so little grip around its income.”

The dire financial position at the hospital came to light last week when it was revealed that their debts were £7m worse than first thought, but the true extent of the challenge they face only became apparent at a board meeting yesterday .


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If the hospital is to pay back its debts of £11.9m, plus interest charges, and not overspend again this year it must save £25m - and all without a permanent finance director at the helm.

It emerged during the meeting that Chris Dooley, the hospital's finance director, is on sick-leave and the hospital does not know when he will return.

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Jason Kirk, deputy finance director, told the meeting that he believed saving the £25m was one of the most challenging targets of any NHS organisation in the UK

He said: “This is not a position I'm particularly comfortable at finding myself in but it is fair to say that there is a lot of support and understanding across the trust to help us achieve the targets.”

Initially, the hospital announced that 105 posts would be cut, but that was before the deepening financial crisis was revealed.

It now looks likely that the scale of job cuts will echo those in other places across the country like the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals which announced 600 posts were being axed yesterday.

Details of the first wave of job cuts in Ipswich were revealed at yesterday's meeting - 16 senior nursing jobs will go as modern matron posts are merged with senior nurse managers'.

The details of the first jobs that will be cut at Ipswich have been shared with staff and union representatives and a 30-day consultation is now underway.

Are you concerned about how the debt will affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Opinion - page 4

One of the biggest issues for the hospital has been the fact that they are carrying out more operations than they are funded to by the Primary Care Trusts and other organisations.

When their figures for the last financial year were brought together it revealed that they had spent £7m more than they received.

Areas of overspending include:

£2.5m - the amount of money that the hospital spent on operations that primary care trusts had not agreed to pay for.

£0.7m - overspending on new IT systems.

£0.8m - overspending on education and training.

£1.4m - miscellaneous income that did not materialise - eg. They did not make as much money as they were expecting to from car parking charges.

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