Suffolk's health service savings demand

UP TO £10million of savings have to be made within Suffolk's Primary Care Trusts in the next three years.The savings need to be made in a bid for the PCT's to consistently balance the books across the county.

UP TO £10million of savings have to be made within Suffolk's Primary Care Trusts in the next three years.

The savings need to be made in a bid for the PCT's to consistently balance the books across the county.

Reducing the use of the private sector for mental health patients and also for long term care of the elderly is likely to be one of the ways to limit outgoing costs.

Management costs have also been highlighted and the possibility of sharing management posts across Suffolk's three PCT's is being investigated.


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Less money could also be spent on agency staffing and non-emergency patient transport.

However a spokesman denied that any cuts would be made to services.

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He said: "No cuts are to be made within the service.

"The PCT's are concentrating on using money more efficiently rather than actually making cuts to services."

Ipswich PCT alone has a £2million deficit to be tackled over the next three years although work is going on to balance the books annually, despite the three year plan.

A £10million budget has been given to Ipswich PCT this year, but for 2003-4 £4million of that has to be used towards the current debts, the most significant of which are caused by prescribing drugs and the debts of Ipswich Hospital.

A report by the Director of Finance and Performance at Ipswich PCT stated: "There is no doubt that the PCT and the whole East Suffolk Health and Social Care system faces an enormous challenge in redesigning services and planning savings to enable services to be delivered and bring the system into recurrent financial balance."

But it was added that it was important to realise that all the deficits are recognised across the system as being largely historical, dating back to before the PCT's took over from Suffolk Health Authority.

All three of the PCT's, Ipswich, Central and Suffolk Coastal are now all working together to try and limit expenditure.

The spokesman added that most of the budgets given from the Department of Health were being spent on meeting Government targets.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds are being ploughed into reducing hospital waiting times for operations and in accident and emergency for example.

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