Hospital struggles to curb debt

IPSWICH Hospital's bid to slash its debt by £10million this year is £1.7million behind target, figures revealed today.And as its chiefs said they are hopeful the trust can make up the shortfall during the rest of the year, it was revealed the hospital is struggling to meet targets in cancer services, A&E, sexual health and staffing.

IPSWICH Hospital's bid to slash its debt by £10million this year is £1.7million behind target, figures revealed today.

And as its chiefs said they are hopeful the trust can make up the shortfall during the rest of the year, it was revealed the hospital is struggling to meet targets in cancer services, A&E, sexual health and staffing.

Meanwhile, it emerged that the ailing financial condition of Suffolk's health service is not just confined to Ipswich Hospital.

Bosses at the Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) today announced they have been burdened with £4.9m of unexpected costs.

Ipswich Hospital's new finance director Mark Madden said the £1.7m gap is down to the hospital not doing as many operations it needs to do to get maximum funding from the PCT.

He said: “The target we have set to make a £10m surplus is a difficult target. We are behind at this time of the year, but are pulling together plans on how to increase the number of operations we perform and put the deficit right.

Most Read

“We are working and planning to change that now and are certainly hopeful we can recover.”

The hospital's chief executive Andrew Reed added: “The figures for August were better than previous months so we are showing a trend in the right direction, although we did still fall a bit short of target.

“The plan was always that we were expecting to generate more savings and income in the second half of the year because when plans are put together they take a while to fully bite.

“We accept there's a fair amount of risk to get that £10m target, but over the course of the next few weeks we will be doing detailed costings and I think we will achieve it.”

Mr Reed added that unexpected costs to tackle superbugs at the hospital had also put a strain on finances.

The hospital plans to be debt free by 2009.

A hospital spokeswoman said that the introduction of the patient administration computer system, which records patients' details and appointments, had slowed down operations.

The new system struggled to cope with the demand of the busy hospital, administration staff had to put up signs asking patients to bear with them and agency staff were hired to help.

It is expected that the hospital will increase the amount of times dedicated to theatre and increase staff levels in critical areas in a bid to up the number of operations it performs.

At this stage of the year, the hospital has carried out no more operations than it did at the same point last year. It must up performance to meet financial targets and bring down patient waiting times between GP referrals and treatment to 18 weeks.

Julian Herbert, director of finance and performance for Suffolk PCT predicted that by the end of the financial year, the hospital would have caught up with the amount of activity needed.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter