Hospital pressures lead to £2m debt

IPSWICH Hospital has to make savings to clear debt of more than £2million.Huge pressures on the hospital with rising admissions has seen the NHS Trust slide further into debt.

IPSWICH Hospital has to make savings to clear debt of more than £2million.

Huge pressures on the hospital with rising admissions has seen the NHS Trust slide further into debt.

At the end of November the Trust had overspent by £2.52million.

Chris Dooley, director of Finance, said in his report to the Trust board that much of the debt had been caused by having to pay locum and agency staff to come in when the hospital underwent a surge in emergency admissions at the end of last year.

In the report he said: "A considerable amount of work has been undertaken to establish the reasons for the overspend that the Trust is experiencing.

"The most significant factor is the ten per cent growth in emergency admissions compared with the same period last year.

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"This has both direct and indirect consequences. For example, the Trust has responded to the bed pressures by opening additional beds across the hospital necessitating additional staffing at premium rates.

"Further, the high levels of bed occupancy has led to inefficiencies including the loss of expensive theatre time due to operations being cancelled due to lack of beds."

Savings now need to be made but Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital said that in no way would money be taken away from patient care.

She said: "Spending on patient care is actually going up.

"We are looking very carefully at all of the other expenditure and particularly looking at how we can get the best value out of every pound we have got."

Ms Rowsell said that the cost of drugs, consumables such as patient dressings and things like walking frames and crutches.

The latter are often given out to patients and sometimes are not returned which again costs the Trust money.

Other ways the report identified as money savers were reducing the amount of transfers between wards, increasing the capacity of the discharge lounge so people could be discharged earlier in the day to free up existing beds and reducing the amount of people admitted the day before their operation.

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