Health trusts cannot meet savings target

HEALTH trusts in Suffolk have admitted they will not meet the strict financial requirements being placed on them by their masters, The Evening Star can reveal today.

HEALTH trusts in Suffolk have admitted they will not meet the strict financial requirements being placed on them by their masters, The Evening Star can reveal today.

East Suffolk's primary care trusts are under pressure to stop their overspending and pay back debts, but say they will be unable to hit the savings target given to them by the end of the year.

The Strategic Health Authority wants them to save £14.3m but the PCTs have set themselves a more reasonable target of around £9.5m so that patient care does not have to be compromised.

Carole Taylor-Brown, chief executive of Suffolk East PCTs said: “We have to acknowledge the unacceptability of the position we are taking to the SHA.

“We will be explaining to them that we can't identify anything else that will close the gap this year. It is a very hard position to take with the SHA and we will be closely monitored.”

Gordon Kerr, a non-executive director, said: “I think the fact that we are taking this stance shows that we are doing everything we can not to compromise patient care.”

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The board heard that at the end of the last financial year the Suffolk East PCTs were overspent to the tune of £20.1m.

Ipswich PCT had the third biggest debt of any PCT in the country, Suffolk Coastal the fourth biggest and Central Suffolk the 15th biggest.

This deficit has forced the PCTs to speed up plans to close community hospitals and move care closer to people's homes.

Members of the public were out in force at the meeting to express concerns over the proposed closures.

But board members stressed that, in some areas of Suffolk, care in the community is already up and running, and were confident it could be successfully rolled out across the county.

Janice Steed, director of service delivery, said: “We've recognised all along that the time-scales are very constrained but we are not starting from scratch here.

“We are starting from services that already exist and extending them across the county.”

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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