Hospital trust ‘struggling’ to make cuts

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Health bosses at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust have admitted that they are struggling to make more than £50 million worth of cuts and has said the Trust will probably be working in deficit over the next few years.

The proposed cuts were revealed to the Courier in June through a leaked document which outlined calls to make £13.45 million worth of cuts by March next year, a further £20 million the following year and a further £19 million in the following year.

The ‘Balanced Plan’ proposed ten schemes to save money that included fewer hospital beds, staff lay-offs and selling-off buildings owned by the hospitals.

Owen Williams, chief executive of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, admitted to the People’s Commission on Health and Social Care that the Trust had gone back to its regulator to say it could not find the savings.

Mr Williams said: “The level of financial challenge we’ve got to face right now is fundamentally unprecedented.

“We’re living in a completely different world to anything that people working healthcare have come across before.

“We’ve already gone back to our regulator to say that we don’t think that it is doable and we are agreeing with them a new re-forecast plan that talks about planning for a deficit.

“But ultimately we’ll look to see what we can do to get back to balance - but that is a really hard ask.”

The Trust has been forced to find ways to make savings while simultaneously being asked to make improvements to services.

In a recent staff newsletter the Trust asked all staff to let them know if they had any ideas to save money.

Mr Williams said: “We’ve been asked to put in an additional £1.5 million for extra nursing as a result of what’s been called the Hard Truths piece of work - which is a piece of work about how many nursing staff are available at any given time to provide care, but also their ability to do training and development.

“We’ve also got a requirement to move to much more seven-day working.

“We do work seven days, but the real crux of this is to make sure that as far as possible we’ve got as much senior clinical decision making around our care as soon as that patient comes through door - this is a different picture with what we now,” he said.