HOSPITAL bosses must find £30 million savings to compensate for their loss-making legacy.
The trust which runs the Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH finished £4.7 million in the red at the end of the last financial year.
Facing a cut in funding from health commissioners and imposed efficiency savings on all hospital services, the trust must shave more than eight per cent off its annual spend to keep its head above water.
The Primary Care Trust (PCT) could not bail out the Trust in April, and managers predict the purse strings could be tightened still further.
Director of finance David Meikle said: “It’s important for us to be optimistic at this time.
“It’s a challenging target and I would say if you compare our savings to the rest of the country, most of the rest have been asked to do four to eight per cent, so we are at the top end of that.”
The trust has already almost entirely abolished its budget for agency or ad-hoc staff, but even with this projected £5.3 million saving hospital bosses face an uphill struggle to meet their savings targets.
Mr Meikle has identified £11 million from the £30 million as underlying risks.
Although the trust has a rough plan of where its savings will come from, hospital chiefs are yet to identify the source of £8 million in savings. Finance director Mr Meikle has also factored £10 million in fines and unpredictable pressure on hospital services as risks to the budget.
The PCT has asked GPs to refer fewer patients to the DGH and Conquest Hospital and look for alternative care in the community.
But a hospital spokesman explained that levels of care needed were hard to predict and the flow of patients into hospital could not always be controlled.
Mr Meikle said: “The experience of these things is they are not particularly successful. It’s a risk to us.”