West Suffolk Hospital’s outgoing Chief Executive says greater integration of services is key to getting the hospital’s finances back on track.
Stephen Graves, who is leaving the organisation to take over at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in September, said although the hospital is facing a deficit of more than £6million this year, it is moving in the right direction towards balancing the books.
“Each trust is having to make a 4 to 5 percent saving every year,” he said, “For us that is £8million a year.”
“That means we have to make £8 million in savings every year just to break even.
“Our staffing costs are about 70 per cent of our budget but we have tried to keep our levels up, not at least because of what happened at Mid Staffs.
“In addition, with anyone that comes into hospital who is an emergency patient, we only get 30 percent of what is deemed to be the full price of those activities.
“That is fine if there are ten more patients, we can soak that up. But we are now at 20 percent above the 2008/09 figure.
“That is almost £4million of lost income a year.
Stephen said an increase in the use of accident and emergency services had put a strain on hospitals across the country.
“Accident and Emergency is a national issue.
“The primary driver of the greatest increase of patients is in patients who have multiple long term conditions, the majority of whom are the elderly.
“We have the second oldest population in the country and there is a large increase year on year.
“The solution is the work that local authorities and clinical commissioning groups are doing to support people to remain healthy and spot that they are becoming ill earlier before they need emergency care. The goal is to provide linked up services to help them earlier.
“That is a very important direction we should travel and our geriatricians are playing a vital role in that.”
Stephen said he had learnt a lot in his time at West Suffolk Hospital and hoped to use this experience in his next role.
“West Suffolk is a hospital of its local community so it means an awful lot to staff to serve people just round the corner from them. “The excellent staff at West Suffolk are incredibly dedicated to their patients and to delivering quality healthcare services.”
FACTS ON HOSPITAL FINANCES:
2013/14 funding: income of £172.7m, deficit of £3.6m
2014/15 funding: income of £165.6m, expected deficit of £6.3m
emergency department : costs £10.5m to run, hospital receives funding of £7.5m generating a loss of £3m a year
Emergency admissions to a bed: 13per cent increase compared with the same four months of last year