Hospital in talks to save cash

PUBLISHED: 10:44 31 December 2010

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BOSSES at Weston General Hospital have opened talks with surrounding health trusts to investigate how they can deliver services for cheaper in the region.

Weston Area Health Trust is one of dozens of trusts in the country expected to play a part in saving the NHS £20billion over the next three years.

In response, directors are in discussions with health trusts in Yeovil, Wiltshire and Somerset to find out more efficient ways to carry out operations.

The talks commence despite good news that NHS North Somerset, which funds the trust, will receive a 4.9 per cent increase in funding for the 2011/12 financial year.

The body will be allocated an additional £15.3million a year to supply health services in the district.

Yet a Weston Area Health Trust spokesman said the times ahead were ‘challenging’ and added: “All NHS services are having to think differently about how they deliver services in future.

“Therefore, it makes sense for us to meet and discuss possible approaches with other local organisations which share our issues and may also therefore, be able to help us work differently.

“To this end, we have, for some months, been having discussions with other Trusts in Bristol and Somerset looking at the future delivery of acute care.

“We are talking about finding ways to improve the quality of what we all do, because we understand that where quality goes up, costs will come down.”

The talks come as the hospital faces losing hundreds of staff in an attempt to balance its books over the next four years.

Bosses expect to lose more than 20 per cent of their workforce as the cost of drugs and equipment increase against a public spending squeeze by the Government.

Although, the hospital says cuts at this stage were only planned through people ‘naturally’ leaving the trust, and not redundancies.

From April to September the trust lost 45 workers, leaving 2,144 on its payroll.

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