The Western Trust must make savings of £13m in the year 2015-2016 members of the Trust Board were told at a meeting this morning.
The Trust‘s chief executive Elaine Way outlined proposals contained in a draft savings plan but said that safety would remain the Trust’s priority.
It’s estimated that the Western Trust will end the current financial year with an £8.5m deficit however Elaine Way said this overspend had occurred because they are determined that the safety of services provided by the Western Trust are not impacted by financial pressures.
Chair of the Trust Gerald Guckian added: “We should never be happy with a deficit, but it’s not wasted money, it’s for the safe delivery of our services.
“There are a number of pressures on the industry including medical locums, but if we did not pay this the services would not be delivered. We cannot apologise for this.
“We spent additional money to assure the quality of care where this was appropriate
“We have to balance quality, performance and finance which is extremely difficult to do. We must keep our eye on the ball but we cannot let patients suffer because of the financial climate.”
Elaine Way said there were risks in implementing the draft budget because demand on services is increasing.
“£13m is extremely challenging,” she said. “Each day we go by without savings results in an overspend. No Trust has a fully balanced plan at this time.”
She said that the Trust had examined contingency plans for last year to see what could be carried over.
She also revealed that the Western Health and Social Care Board had already objected some of the plans in the draft budget and the current plans for savings only came in at £10.3 million
“We will be expected to close the gap,” she said. “It’s a challenging financial environment but I am proud of the Western Trust and the service it provides. I can feel the commitment of staff to deliver.
“We have a statutory duty to break even but we also a duty to provide care.”
Ms Way said that 60% of the current budget was spent on staffing.
“To deliver the £13m we have to reduce what we spend on the workforce,” she said.
“We work closely with the trade unions.
“We know if we reduce absences we can reduce spend. We are also looking at ways to roster staff more efficiently.
“In the West we have a stable workforce and a low turnover of staff so we need some form of voluntary exit scheme to accommodate staff who wish to go.”
She said plans in the draft included reducing the spend on voluntary ambulances and reducing the bank agency spend.
The Trust also plans to looks at improving staff attendance and reducing overtime.
There will also be a commitment to secure savings from management.
Savings will also be made in the procurement of pharmacy, bed remodelling, and reforming the rewards system for adults with a learning disability and adopting a model where the young adults have a celebration for the work they do rather than a financial reward.
There are also plans to save money on the meals on wheels system and reducing taxi fares.
Ms Way said there was also a commitment to pull back on areas where they have been overspending.