Hospital debt leads to more cuts

SANDWICHES and stationery will be two of the first things to be dropped from Ipswich Hospital's shopping list as the debt-ridden trust battles to save more than £16m.

SANDWICHES and stationery will be two of the first things to be dropped from Ipswich Hospital's shopping list as the debt-ridden trust battles to save more than £16m.

As part of an intensive eight-week review of the hospital's spending all staff have been asked to come up with ideas on where money can be saved.

The first of these to be approved by the hospital's new steering group, which is overseeing all the changes, include:

Snack boxes will no longer be provided for patients who arrive at the hospital outside meal times.

Stopping all hospitality - sandwiches will not be provided at meetings and lunch will only be provided for people visiting the hospital for work purposes on exceptional occasions.

Spending on stationery will be more closely monitored and staff from different departments will share a central stationery pool.

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No new computers will be bought, unless they are urgently needed to replace ones that cannot be fixed.

No new office furniture can be purchased.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “These are the first things the steering group have come up with and they are all things that will have a minimal impact on patients and staff.

“The snack boxes used to contain a small amount of food for patients in between meal times but we found that we were handing lots out and most people were not touching them.

“Patients will still have access to food between meals if they need it.”

As The Evening Star reported earlier this month, other measures that have already been implemented in the hospital include turning off non-essential air conditioning units.

It emerged this week that the hospital's debt is now almost £5m worse than first thought and stands at £16.7m instead of the predicted £11.9m.

A steering group consisting of senior staff from throughout the hospital has been set up to oversee a programme of intense financial recovery which the hospital is calling Taking Control.

The aim is to have drawn up a list of cost-cutting measure to be considered by the hospital's board at its meeting in September.

Weblink: www.ipswichhospital.gov.uk

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