Ipswich: Hospital thrown �3million lifeline to help pay for redundancies

IPSWICH: Troubled Ipswich Hospital is to be thrown a �3million lifeline to help pay the cost of redundancies as the trust struggles against a spiralling debt mountain.

The Evening Star can today reveal the Heath Road trust is in negotiations with the county’s primary care trust (PCT) NHS Suffolk for a slice of money to help support change.

It is understood the support package is likely to be handed to the hospital in the New Year, subject to being approved by NHS Suffolk’s board.

The news comes as the axe hangs over scores of jobs as bosses strive to balance the books – thrown into the red even further this year as emergency admissions dropped meaning less money from the government, coupled with a soaring bill to pay for temporary locum and agency staff.

This year the trust has racked up around �11.6m debt, on top of the historic debt and the trust’s PFI debt of �45m for the Garratt Anderson centre.

While welcoming the short-term bail out North Ipswich and Central Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter said it would not have been necessary had Ipswich Hospital’s executive team properly managed the trust’s finances.

But chief executive Andrew Reed said the money is a “one-off” payment and is not a bail out.

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He said the chunk of taxpayers’ money is part of a national scheme to help hospitals across the country “support change”.

Dr Poulter said: “I am delighted that the hospital has been thrown a financial lifeline. As with other failing hospitals the management is under increasing scrutiny.

“These are desperation measures, measures of necessity to get the hospital through difficult times.

“It buys time but there needs to be a comprehensive strategy put into place to support the hardworking frontline staff in delivering high quality care for patients. But the changes need to be made in a patient-focused way.

“The question that needs to be asked is given the current management team got Ipswich Hospital into this mess, are they the right people to put things back on track?”

Earlier this year the Star revealed on top of 100 jobs already earmarked to be lost another 150 posts across the trust were at risk as the trust makes cuts in a desperate bid to balance the books.

The redundancy consultation period will come to an end in late-December.

n What do you think of Ipswich Hospital’s financial troubles? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveingstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk