Hospital's fight for PCT money

IPSWICH Hospital's fight to receive money for operations it did not get paid for because they were done too quickly has today stepped up a gear.The hospital hit the headlines in July when it emerged that the Suffolk primary care trust (PCT) had refused to pay them more than £2m for operations that were done before people had been waiting at least 122 days.

IPSWICH Hospital's fight to receive money for operations it did not get paid for because they were done too quickly has today stepped up a gear.

The hospital hit the headlines in July when it emerged that the Suffolk primary care trust (PCT) had refused to pay them more than £2m for operations that were done before people had been waiting at least 122 days.

The bizarre target was imposed by the PCT in a bid to smooth the flow of patients through the hospital, despite government targets encouraging hospitals to slash waiting lists.

Now, the matter is to be looked at by an arbitration panel, made up of the trusts' bosses at the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA), because the hospital and the PCT could not resolve it between themselves.


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A report to the hospital's board states: “The 122 day rule invoice will now be submitted for formal arbitration with the SHA, following an informal ruling which the trust believes did not even address the relevant issues.”

A spokeswoman for the Strategic Health Authority said the arbitration was not a legal decision.

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She said: “The SHA is ultimately responsible for overseeing health care in its area and if something can not be resolved locally then that is when we would get involved.”

She added that the decision would be taken by the SHA's executive director team and would be done as quickly as possible.

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said both the hospital and the PCT had prepared reports for the SHA outlining the details of the dispute but declined to comment further, saying only “we have a strong working relationship with the PCT.”

Caroline Tuohy, director of commissioning and development for the PCT, said: “We are very happy to co-operate with the arbitration process and continue to work closely with Ipswich Hospital.

“This rule is there to make sure that everyone is seen in turn. Patients who need to be seen urgently are, of course, seen quickly.”

The 122 day rule has since been lowered to 98 as trusts prepare to meet new government targets.

Do you think the PCT is right to refuse to pay the hospital for this work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINK: www.eoe.nhs.uk

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