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Union attacks Eastbourne hospital bosses over spiralling debt
5:10am Thursday 27th March 2014 in News
A union is calling for the resignation of senior managers at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
The trust, which runs Eastbourne District General Hospital and the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards, has been battling to make millions of pounds in savings, and has come under fire after it emerged it is more in debt than expected.
It had intended to end the financial year with a deficit of £19.4 million, but the figure has now grown to more than £23 million.
This is despite bringing in an independent agency last year to turn its money problems around – at a cost of more than £250,000.
Campaigners and unions are already angry at changes to services, which have included downgrading maternity services at Eastbourne District General Hospital. Other controversial changes have included transferring emergency and urgent general and orthopaedic surgery from Eastbourne to St Leonards.
The GMB accused chief executive Darren Grayson and senior board members of “continuing mismanagement and lack of leadership” and said the team should resign.
GMB organiser Gary Palmer said: “It’s just been one piece of mismanagement after another, with one of the latest being the huge waste of money in appointing a turnaround director at a cost to the trust of around £250,000.”
In a statement the trust said it had set a deficit budget to reflect the need to maintain the quality and safety of services while managing the impact of a reduction in income from commissioners. It said it had managed to save £17.5 million this year while managing to maintain delivery of services and meeting Government standards.
A spokesman said: “What this shows is that although the trust has made substantial progress in becoming more efficient and effective the East Sussex health economy, like the NHS as a whole, has a huge financial challenge to ensure it can meet the needs of the local population in the future.”
East Sussex has been named by independent regulator Monitor as one of 11 “financially challenged” healthcare economies in need of extra support.
The county’s three clinical commissioning groups will be working with East Sussex County Council and NHS providers to draw up plans for the next five years.
An adviser will be brought in at the end of this month to help and support services.
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