Search

Hospital warns of bleak winter

PUBLISHED: 12:21 05 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 March 2010

SURGING numbers of patients being admitted to hospital and budget shortfalls running into millions of pounds means health chiefs are facing a "bleak" winter period, it was warned last night.

SURGING numbers of patients being admitted to hospital and budget shortfalls running into millions of pounds means health chiefs are facing a "bleak" winter period, it was warned last night.

The soaring amount of admissions to Ipswich Hospital has held up throughout 2001, forcing trust officials to admit: "There's not one particularly busy season at the moment – it's like winter all year round."

The trust has been battling against drastic overspends and making "efficiency savings" to slash budget shortfalls of more than £2 million – raising fears of an inferior service for patients. The Local Health Partnerships NHS Trust, based in Eye, has also reported a £500,000 deficit.

Joanna Spicer, chairman of the Suffolk Health Authority, said she had been aware of the "fragile" state of the budgets from the start of the financial year. The authority's own deficit, of around £2.3 million, was mostly due to GP and primary care prescriptions, she added.

"We were determined to try and make cash efficiency savings and I am confident NHS trusts are doing their best to achieve these before the end of the year.

"But I am very worried, particularly with the impending end of the health authority in March. We expect to hear settlements for next year within a month but I believe it is going to be very difficult to achieve any form of balanced budget."

Mrs Spicer said NHS staff were "well prepared" for the winter and emphasised that services were still being provided "with as much care and efficiency as we can manage".

She said the delay in transfers of care, or bed-blockers, was of "grave concern" and added: "I am disappointed there isn't more improvement in waiting list times but the important thing is we are retaining our emergency services and everybody is doing their best."

Lists of people waiting to be admitted to Ipswich Hospital have lengthened, with 98% of beds full and bosses overseeing a net overspend of £648,000 in the first financial quarter of the year. The NHS Trust currently has a deficit of £2.1 million.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said Suffolk's biggest hospital had been "very busy" all year. "It's almost like winter all year round in many cases," she said.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists