Union warns of more cuts

UNION officials at Ipswich Hospital today called for the public to be brought up-to-date on looming cuts.Representatives at the Heath Road hospital have spoken after it was revealed the hospital's finances have broken even for the fourth consecutive month - the first time in several years.

UNION officials at Ipswich Hospital today called for the public to be brought up-to-date on looming cuts.

Representatives at the Heath Road hospital have spoken after it was revealed the hospital's finances have broken even for the fourth consecutive month - the first time in several years.

The unions' response said while the hospital is saving money it does not rule out cuts in the coming year.

A statement from the officials, who say they do not know where the cuts will hit, said: “We are concerned that cuts will cause significant damage to services.


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“The unions think it is time the public were made aware of some of the problems the hospital faces.

“The size of debt has little to do with the efficiency of a hospital and much more to do with flaws in the funding system and the rules we must abide by.”

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The statement said one of the biggest financial burdens comes from the annual charges on the hospital's buildings and land made by the government, which means each year money must be handed back to the Department of Health.

The hospital can reduce the payments by closing down and selling off parts of the site, squashing services into a smaller area.

The statement said: “In effect we are being taxed out of buildings we already own.”

The union officials also said staff are struggling to meet 2per cent to 3pc efficiency gains demanded each year without extra resources.

They said: “Try telling a train driver to get his train to London 2pc quicker every year. In time this becomes dangerous and then physically impossible.”

Ipswich Hospital has admitted while its financial position is improving, there is still a lot of work to be done this year, not least to pay off its £18m of historic debt.

The unions added: “Staff are working flat out to maintain services, but we are now required to do more work to a higher standard using less funds on a shrinking hospital that serves a growing population.

“Some politicians claim the NHS is on course to break even this year. It appears they are prepared to watch services collapse in some areas in order to break even nationally. It is easy for politicians to blame local managers but they are in an impossible position.”

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