Hospital trust must save millions more

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THE TRUST which runs the Conquest Hospital is scrambling to find savings as its deficit increases.

The East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has already identified £5.3 million to make in savings but is casting its eye over hospital spending to find a further £2 million.

To add to its problems, trust bosses – whose main responsibilities are to oversee the running of the Conquest and Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH) - said the trust’s deficit will increase from £4.3 million to £5.3 million for the year to date.

Andy Horne, interim director of finance and investment, said: “We have not implemented all savings in full so this is going back to efficiency savings we have to make and those efficiency schemes are always difficult to achieve.

“It’s quite worrying because it’s quite late in the year to have that degree of savings to be made but we have a plan in place.”

Savings were labelled ‘high risk’ in the trust’s October financial summary, presented to the board at a meeting in the DGH last Wednesday.

Concerns were also voiced about this year’s grants for building and maintenance projects.

Already £1.55 million from the regional transformational fund, financing hospitals across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, has been removed from the trust’s estimations and it is still in talks to secure £5 million from other sources. But Mr Horne said he remained ‘hopeful’.

If the £5 million support does not materialise, the trust will be forced to take further cost-cutting measures to reach its target of a £1.7 million surplus for the financial year.