Experts drafted in to tackle debts

Eastbourne DGH
Eastbourne DGH

A WORLD-renowned accountancy firm has been drafted in to try to cut the debts of the NHS Trust which runs the DGH.

Bosses at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which also runs the Conquest in Hastings, is working with Ernst and Young, one of the largest accountants in the world, to try and clear a £6 million deficit, amassed over the last year.

The debt has been caused by increasing numbers of patients needing treatment and overspending on agency staff.

Hospital managers have set themselves a target of trying to save £30 million over the next year.

At a trust board meeting on Wednesday, David Meikle, director of finance, said, “We are still in a very challenging position and were expecting to be doing better than this over the last two months.

“We are working with external support but it’s not good news at the moment.”

The trust’s interim chairman, Steve Tinton, asked why the organisation’s finances were in such poor shape so early on in the new financial year, which started on April 1.

Andy Horne, director of development, said the scale of the savings programme the trust had was huge.

He said, “We are entering a very difficult terrain and trying to reduce lengths of stay in hospital for patients.

“I don’t think we will be the only organisation struggling but we have a good management programme in place so we can deliver the right efficiency savings that is expected of us.”

Darren Grayson, the trust’s chief executive, said, “We are looking at resolving several years of financial problems.

“We had financial support from the Government for five years and this year there is no support.

“This year is the first one in our £100 million savings programme over the next few years. We have a mountain to climb.”