Tough times to come for healthcare

MORE difficult decisions will need to be made on the future of Suffolk's NHS over the coming months, a top health boss has warned today.Carole Taylor-Brown, the newly-appointed chief executive of the Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT), said the tough times are not over as the county struggles to rid itself of debts of more than £40m.

MORE difficult decisions will need to be made on the future of Suffolk's NHS over the coming months, a top health boss has warned today.

Carole Taylor-Brown, the newly-appointed chief executive of the Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT), said the tough times are not over as the county struggles to rid itself of debts of more than £40m.

She said: “We are going to have to take some really difficult decisions.

“It is going to be very hard because people have got used to particular ways of working and services being provided in a certain way.”

Some of the work will be due to the financial pressures but there will also be some big changes that come about in order to keep up with government policy which outlines more care in the community and more choice for patients.

The new county-wide PCT will officially come into existence on October 1 and Mrs Taylor-Brown, who will be paid £130,000 a year for her new role, is clear what her priorities will be.

Most Read

She said: “Our absolute priority is to get the health economy back in to a sustainable position. We need to make sure that we have money to take things forward.

“We need to be able to turn the system around so that we have the money that we need to create new services.”

The former East Suffolk PCTs plan to recover £9.4m this year and the focus will now be on paying back the historic debt.

In the west of the county health organisations are still overspending but Mrs Taylor-Brown said she is confident this will come down within the next few months.

In the coming weeks the focus will be on appointing the rest of the management posts within the new organisation, while maintaining services on the ground.

What do you think Mrs Taylor-Brown's priorities should be? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

Following Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt's endorsement of the plans to close the Bartlet Hospital and modernise the Felixstowe General, the PCTs are now waiting to receive planning permission for the changes.

Mrs Taylor-Brown said: “We are going through the planning process with Felixstowe at the moment.

“We want to get going with it as quickly as we can but can't really do anything until that's happened.”

She said it is hoped that the refurbishment of the Felixstowe General and the closure of the Bartlet will be complete within around nine months.

In the meantime the focus is on making sure there are enough health staff out in the community in order to cope with the fact that there will be less in-patient beds.

Mrs Taylor-Brown said: “Most of the locality teams are now appointed to and will be up and running within the next few weeks.

“I have been talking to GPs recently and we are still finding that on occasions they have had to make inappropriate admissions because they do not have the intermediate support that they want.

“We need to get that up very quickly and we are very conscious of doing that.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter