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Cuts not ruled out by Morecambe Bay health trust bosses
CRISIS-HIT Morecambe Bay NHS Trust has refused to rule out cutting jobs and services as it aims to tackle a predicted £29m deficit.
The trust yesterday admitted that around £13m of this financial year’s expected shortfall is directly caused by urgent measures it implemented to improve clinical services.
Health regulators Monitor and the Care Quality Commission ordered bosses to make major changes after serious failings in patient care and leadership were found.
Sir David Henshaw and Eric Morton were appointed chairman and interim chief executive respectively to turn around the trust.
A trust spokesman said most of the £13m had been incurred by employing new staff, including recruiting new managers, midwives, doctors, and nurses.
Tim Bennett, director of finance and deputy chief executive, said: “This does not mean we have a substantial debt at the moment. It means that if we do nothing, we could be faced with a signif-icant financial challenge.
“We are seeking help from our commissioners, together with seeking additional NHS funding, to assist the trust manage this period. We are enc-ouraged at the initial response, which will provide the head room we need to develop our plans led by clinicians.”
The trust would not comment on how it would try tackling its deficit, but said plans would be submitted to Monitor in September identifying how changes could be made.
In a letter updating the trust’s governors, Sir David Henshaw wrote: “This doesn’t mean any decisions have been made to close, or remove, any of our services, because any recommended changes from the reviews would be made with input from the public and then full consultation.
“It simply means we have to look at where we can do things differently.”
Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron told the Gazette he would ask the Government to give the trust extra resources, so patients did not see services cut.
“The new management inherited quite a bad situation and it costs money to get things right,” said Mr Farron. If it’s cost them £13m to get the trust back on an even keel, it’s not their fault. Patients shouldn’t have to pay for those various cutbacks and savings that might be painful.”
Mr Farron said while the Government should not be expected to bail out every troubled hospital trust, it should reward those trying to turn things around.