No automatic job-fill at hospital
JOB vacancies at Ipswich Hospital are not being filled automatically, because of a cash crisis at Ipswich Hospital, The Evening Star can reveal today.Before an advert is placed, every vacancy is first scrutinised by managers to see if they can manage without the member of staff to save costs.
By Tracey Sparling
JOB vacancies at Ipswich Hospital are not being filled automatically, because of a cash crisis at Ipswich Hospital, The Evening Star can reveal today.
Before an advert is placed, every vacancy is first scrutinised by managers to see if they can manage without the member of staff to save costs.
At the hospital's board meeting directors stressed that the recruitment policy was normal practice rather than a "knee-jerk reaction" to the news that the hospital must find savings to get its bank balance out of the red.
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The hospital has to make savings of £2.75m this year, but after the county's finances have been reviewed, it is now being asked to save another £1.85m.
By the end of July the hospital had already overspent by £0.38m, and that month marked a 'significant decline' in the hopsital's financial performance, according to acting director of finance and performance Craig Black.
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He said: "The trauma and orthopaedic, oncology and medical directorates all have, or are undertaking work to produce, recovery plans detailing how they will achieve a break-even position by the year end.
"All developments are being frozen and all vacancies are being critically reviewed within these directorates."
He said spending on drugs had increased dramatically in the month, particularly in oncology, which saw two patients' treatment costing £50,000 each.
Agency nursing had also cost £0.25m in the first four months of the year, and that issue was being discussed by the Strategic Health Authority based in Cambridge.
Chairman Chris Smart said: "This is not good news but we are not alone. Every trust in the country is facing similar problems."
When non-executive director Geoffrey Arrand asked if the recruitment policy was a 'kneejerk reaction' to the cash crisis, director of nursing Clare Barlow said it was not.
She said: "This happens as a matter of course. There is emphasis on making savings when vacancies arise. They offer the opportunity to realise savings, so there is a decision that takes place rather than automatically replacing the post."