Hospital claims light at end of tunnel

IPSWICH Hospital today bravely promised patients and staff a light at the end of the tunnel.After years of troubled finances forcing cuts to jobs and services, the message today is there has been a breakthrough.

IPSWICH Hospital today bravely promised patients and staff a light at the end of the tunnel.

After years of troubled finances forcing cuts to jobs and services, the message today is there has been a breakthrough.

Mike Brookes, the hospital's chairman, reassured staff with a rousing speech and spoke of “a fantastic turnaround” at a special awards ceremony where everyone from consultants to volunteers were celebrated.

And speaking exclusively to The Evening Star, he said: “We are worthy of the public's trust.”

Mr Brookes' words of assurance to his staff came as he made a speech to an audience of 290 hospital staff and guests at the Ipswich Hospital Staff Awards yesterday .

He spoke of turning corners, high spirits and financial security being on its way.

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He said: “It's a fantastic turnaround in the last 12 months and something we can all be very proud of.

“It's the basis on which we can work to now start recovering payments for the past year's debts.

“It means we have demonstrated that apart from being a centre of clinical excellence, we have now started to get finances under control and are gaining the trust of key stakeholders.

“It also demonstrates to the public, whose money we spend, that we are worthy of their trust for the future.”

The Star revealed last month how the hospital's finances broke even for the fourth consecutive month - the first time in several years it made more money than it had been spending.

Mr Brookes said: “It comes after a lot of hard work from everybody in the trust, who have responded so well to the challenge of previous years' deficits.

“I'm happy to say, subject to final accounting, it's highly likely that the results for the year just ended will come close to us reaching break even.”

Savings have not come without opposition - with much public criticism about job cuts, the pending closure of Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital and other community hospitals, ward closures and service cuts.

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