New man holds purse strings at hospital

HE HAS the future of Ipswich Hospital in his hands.To some the prospect of taking on the challenge of finance director at cash-strapped may be unthinkable but Mark Madden, the new man at the helm, said today he is happy to be the director under the biggest spotlight at the trust.

HE HAS the future of Ipswich Hospital in his hands.

To some the prospect of taking on the challenge of finance director at cash-strapped may be unthinkable but Mark Madden, the new man at the helm, said today he is happy to be the director under the biggest spotlight at the trust.

And he said the hospital is on track to save £10million this year and wipe all its debt by the end of 2009.

Mr Madden took on the job under two weeks ago after predecessor Chris Dooley retired following a spell out of the hot seat due to ill health.


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Mr Madden, 44, was formerly the finance chief at the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust (SMHPT), also plagued by debt.

He said: “The trust has made huge progress in its financial recovery but there's still a long way to go.

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“It's that challenge more than anything that attracted me to the job.

“The pace of change in hospitals is much greater than in the mental health sector and that's what I want to be part of.”

In April, the hospital reported a £14.3m debt. In the months since it has continued to make more money than it is spending, but needs to up the ante to meet its target of clawing back £10m of its deficit this year.

The hospital's hard hitting cost cutting campaign included job and bed cuts.

Mr Madden said: “I'm confident we can make the savings trajectory of £13m this year, which will result in the delivery of a £10m surplus. That puts us on track to be debt free by the end of 2009.

“I've found the hospital to be very open. Although it can be hard looking forward when there's been such a difficult past, it's an organisation which remains very positive.

“Being only half a mile down the road with the mental health trust, I can't help but know what's been going on at the hospital and if they had buried their heads in the sand, rather than facing the problems straight on, I wouldn't have wanted to work for them.”

Mr Madden, a father of two, was born in South Wales and moved east to go to the University of East Anglia. He spent time working in the NHS and private sector before joining the SMHPT in Suffolk in 2004.

At the SMHPT he was involved with the bid for foundation status, a process the hospital is also going through.

Andrew Reed, the hospital's chief executive, said: “Mark's skills will further strengthen our trust board in our commitment to achieve the highest standards of patient safety, clinical quality and financial management.”

N How do you think the hospital should make savings? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IPSWICH Hospital has been rocked by the cuts installed to help claw back what once stood at a £24.1million debt.

More than a year of discontent has reigned among some staff as they were told of job, bed and service cuts.

In May, the Star revealed how a reshuffle of medical secretaries left the hospital with a backlog of correspondence, patients' notes going missing, staff being downgraded and low staff morale.

Ninety-five of the 134 medical secretaries were given new roles as secretaries, two people asked for voluntary redundancy, four resigned and two people took other posts.

In December last year, 16 specialist nurse jobs were lost, but the nurses were kept on elsewhere in the hospital.

It had been announced that more than 30 nurses were to be axed but, following the Star's Save our Angels campaign, no one was made redundant.

In September last year hospital bosses approved plans to axe 71 beds, 357 jobs and four operating theatres to help balance the debt. Many of the beds closing are based in the northern end of the hospital, which is the oldest part of the building.

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