The boss of the NHS Trust which manages both the DGH and the Conquest has said its current spending on the hospitals is “unsustainable”.
Darren Grayson, the chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare Trust, has warned staff they face “difficult decisions” as the organisation looks to slash £2 million from its monthly spend.
In a message to the hospital staff he said, “To keep within our income we need to spend £30 million a month but we are currently spending approximately £32 million a month.
“This is clearly unsustainable and can’t continue.
“This is a real challenge for us as we have to ensure, of course, that we not only meet our safety and performance targets but also do this within the income we generate.
“We have agreed plans that can be rapidly implemented that ensure patient safety is maintained and we are able to meet both our performance and financial targets.”
Mr Grayson said the extra spending has been due to busy hospitals and high sickness rates which has meant the Trust has been forced to pay for agency staff.
Eastbourne health campaigner Liz Walke doesn’t agree with the Trust’s explanation and said it is more concerned with cutting costs than improving care. She said, “The staff are off sick because of the stress caused by what the Trust is doing to them.
“The sickness rates are higher than other Trusts in the country.
“It’s because it’s a troubled Trust and because of the way it’s been managed.”
Mrs Walke blamed the Trust for failing to prepare for a high number of midwives who took maternity leave in the same period.
She continued, “They need to be honest.
“They say the changes they have made are there to improve the standard of care, but that’s not true.
“The cuts are being made to save money and it appears the Trust are finally acknowledging this.”