Hospital finances looking healthier

IPSWICH Hospital's finances have broken even for the fourth consecutive month, it can be revealed today.

IPSWICH Hospital's finances have broken even for the fourth consecutive month, it can be revealed today.

While the hospital remains £14.3million in debt, it is the first time in several years it has been making more money than it has been spending.

Andrew Reed, the hospital's chief executive, today said the news was positive but added there is still a lot of work to do.

The hospital's budget papers for February show a £649,000 surplus, well above the £325,000 target set in September last year under a budgeting programme.

It follows smaller surpluses ranging from £72,000 to £219,000 in the previous three months.

The hospital is also on target for a £853,000 surplus for March.

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The figures look at savings and expenditure exclusive to the four months, and do not include historic debts.

Andrew Reed, chief executive, said: “In February the surplus increased fairly significantly which is a positive sign.

“The formal financial position is that we have a £14.3m deficit but almost all of that is down to a complicated treasury system.

“If you take that out of the equation, we expect to end the year with a small deficit of around £300,000. The same figure last year was a deficit of around £12m.

“We have a very good chance of breaking even this year.

“This is the first time since I have been at the hospital that we have made an in-month surplus four months in a row. And I would think it's the first time since 2003/4.

“We've got four months of good financial results and that's great but it is only four months and we've got to keep it going.

“It's been painful but we have every chance of putting the hospital on good financial footing.”

Mr Reed also confirmed the hospital will receive a £24.3m loan from the NHS Bank. Because of the historic debts, the hospital is not generating money and relies on the bank cash to pay bills.

The loan was exactly the figure the hospital bid for, and because the hospital's financial position has improved since the bid was put in, it is likely to be more than the hospital needs.

The hospital said it eliminated immediate cash flow concerns but must be paid back over seven years.

Does the Government provide enough cash to in-debt hospitals? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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