Health service must make savings

IPSWICH primary care trust must make significant long-term improvements in a bid to stay out of debt, it has been revealed.Earlier in the year the trust estimated a £3million shortfall and although £1millon was saved, the Trust is still £2million in the red for the year 2003/4.

IPSWICH primary care trust must make significant long-term improvements in a bid to stay out of debt, it has been revealed.

Earlier in the year the trust estimated a £3million shortfall and although £1millon was saved, the Trust is still £2million in the red for the year 2003/4.

Lilian Power chairman of the Trust board has called for urgent improvements.

She said: "We need to get a long term development plan off the ground urgently.

"We have to get rid of this millstone round our neck."

Sarah Woolford, director of finance said there was no risk of cutting services to get out of debt but current services run by the PCT needed to be improved and modernised as soon as possible.

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She stated that a long-term recovery plan had to be put in place to prevent the trust getting into debt every year.

"We have to modernise our services but we are not cutting any money out of the budget and need to change our services to enable us to do that.

"That planning cannot happen overnight," she said.

But she also added that for the Trust to be able to set a budget for this year, changes also had to be made in the very short term and something had to be in place by the autumn.

During the meeting it was also revealed that Suffolk as a county possibly got less money allocated to the primary care trusts because it is considered as a more affluent area than other places in the country.

Last year a debt of £2.8million was slashed to around £200,000 but Ms Woolford stated at the meeting that reserves left over from Suffolk Health Authority were used, however there is now nothing left of this.

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