Barrow hospital bosses reveal further details of cost-cutting plans
Last updated at 11:35, Monday, 11 March 2013
BOSSES responsible for providing hospital services in Barrow have revealed further details of their cost-cutting plans, as they strive to save £30m over the next year.
Directors at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Furness General Hospital, have said they cannot rule out job losses but will do everything possible to protect their staff.
Chairman, John Cowdall, said: "As we have said previously, our staff are our biggest asset.
"Although we cannot guarantee that there will not be job losses as a result of future changes, we will be working with staff representatives to minimise the impact and provide the appropriate support.
"Should it be necessary to enter into a formal staff consultation over potential job losses, then we can guarantee that a clear and proper consultation will take place with those staff affected, together with union and staff side colleagues.
"We would as a priority, look to redeploy staff within the organisation wherever possible."
UHMBT is undergoing a major drive to improve its efficiency due to the serious financial challenge it faces - a result of the cost of making its services safe following several high-profile scandals plus the annual savings all NHS trusts are being made to achieve nationally.
While the trust is progressing towards finding £30m of savings by April 2014 it has not yet done enough, and as a result, is set to share a new action plan with its staff.
UHMBT chairman, John Cowdall, said: "There have been rumours that the trust might run out of money and be unable to pay wages.
"The reason this isn’t happening is we are continuing to take action to prevent it, which over the coming weeks and months will be evident as together, we start to make the important changes to our services that are needed.
"We are introducing stricter controls on costs such as recruitment restrictions and tightening spending limits on the purchase of services and supplies.
"This trust will not put finance before the safety of anyone who uses our hospitals.
"It is quite clear that do nothing is not an option. Whilst the trust has a plan to deliver the £30m of efficiency savings, if we all fail to ensure that services can be delivered within the money available to us, then the trust could become insolvent.
"Essentially we would not be able to operate without making a significant loss. This could mean that our future is taken out of our hands."
The trust has, it said, found several ways to save money without compromising care.
For instance, while the best quality care is provided by permanent employees, this financial year UHMBT has spent an average £970,000 a month on temporary agency staff.
People staying in hospital too long is another costly habit, and is bad for patients themselves, so is a key area for the trust to work on.
UHMBT has also found that, in the 2011/12 financial year, each one per cent sickness absence cost around £1.17m. Its current sickness level is 4.58 per cent.
In the short term, UHMBT has negotiated financial support from the county's commissioners and the Department of Health. But this will end in April 2014, when the trust will be expected to be financially stable.
Mr Cowdall said: "Together with staff from each division, we have been looking at how we can make the necessary changes, without compromising quality of care.
"The good news is that new ideas have been coming forward. It is important to consider smaller items as they often influence bigger change, however to make a real difference we have created eight priority schemes to facilitate the transformation needed."
The eight priority schemes are:
- Length of Stay
Aims to reduce the length of time patients stay in hospital in comparison to similar trust. An example would be increasing
the number of day surgery operations as opposed to keeping patients in hospital unnecessarily overnight.
- Nursing Establishment
Aims to establish safe and effective nursing, through capturing current nurse staffing levels and the development of staffing principles for all areas including consistent shift times, overlap and ensuring budgeted establishments are appropriate.
- Medical Staffing
Clinicans will be revewing the current capacity
Administrative and Clerical
Aims to realise savings by initially concentrating on the role of medical secretaries, considering new technology, creation of
shared resources and a new operating structure.
- Discretionary Spend
Looks at ways to reduce the amount spent on agency staff.
Looks at how money is spent on things like electricity and other similar services
Aims to improve the use of theatres by maximising the amount of operating time.
The trust said many of its ideas and plans came from staff, and it wants to continue to work with them on more suggestions over the next 12 months.
Bosses say it is essential staff understand why changes need to be made and feel part of the process.
This week, staff at all its sites will be visited by board members to discuss the proposals further.
At FGH, employees are due to meet trust bosses on Thursday.
First published at 11:24, Monday, 11 March 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
I was involved with NHS trusts in my former role and found it to have too many layers of management.We would turn up with 2 people to discuss the issue and they would turn up with several people..and secretarial help!The prison service had to save money so what did they do? Took out 2 layers of management!It is interesting to see the 8 points up for discussion to make savings and lo and behold...no mention of cutting management!Who makes the decisions on the cuts? Yes, the management! I could go in and do an assessment as an independant, and identify loads of savings which would not affect nursing care which was mentioned as one of the points to look at for savings.There are loads of staff on big salaries which cannot be justified and this need addressing not cutting important frontline staff.What happened to "Back office cuts" ?
The NHS is on it's knees, resources drained by fat cats in suits earning the salary of several wardfulls of nurses. Too many Chiefs in the NHS. Resources also drained by health tourists who we cannot deny treatment for some reason. Aneurin Bevin must be spinning in his grave.
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