Southern Trust announces contingency plans for 2014/15 budget
30/10/2014Following today’s Ministerial budget statement, the Southern Trust has confirmed details of the savings plans which will now be implemented to ensure the Trust achieves financial break even this year. Confirming details of the plans, Trust Chief Executive, Mairead McAlinden said:
“This Trust had already put in place plans to save £6m this year. These savings have been based on the principle of supporting priority patient and client care and the maintenance of essential services, and are being delivered through strict controls on staff recruitment, travel, training and education, and controlling overspending in areas such as domiciliary care. While delivering these savings continues to be extremely challenging, we have been able to maintain frontline services and protect care delivery.
“However, the Trust is now required to make additional savings of £2.9m by the end of March 2015. To achieve this, the Regional Board has approved over £1m of further workforce controls and the temporary step down of a number of services to release funds for critical health and social care provision.”
The services which will be directly affected are:
• Loane House, South Tyrone Hospital: ongoing flexible reduction of beds
• Armagh Minor Injuries Unit: temporary closure from 17 November 2014.
• Paediatric Ambulatory Unit in South Tyrone Hospital reduction of opening hours from 17 November 2014.
• Domiciliary care: introducing a 4 week waiting list for non-urgent packages.
For all Trusts, the level of funding for waiting list initiatives to achieve target waiting times for elective (planned) care and treatment has also been reduced from previous years. This means that waiting times for assessment, diagnostic tests and treatment in the Southern Trust will continue to increase. The Trust is committed to using this reduced funding to ensure, as far as possible, that patients are treated on the basis of clinical urgency and our Trust Board has already agreed action to address some immediate issues at financial risk pending the Minister’s announcement.
All of these measures will be in place until March 2015. After this, should we find it necessary to make any of these changes permanent, normal consultation will be undertaken.
Existing workforce controls will remain. We anticipate this measure will protect the jobs of permanent staff where they are prepared to be flexible and work with the Trust in relation to redeployment and changes to their role.
All Trusts have had to prepare a range of contingency proposals to address the difficult financial position, minimising as far as possible, any potential negative impact on patient and client care, and at all times putting the safety of patients and clients as our first priority.