Hospitals need to save £16m

The University Hospital of Hartlepool

The University Hospital of Hartlepool

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HOSPITAL chiefs are hoping to save almost £16m in the next 12 months after being forced to make budget savings.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust launched its £40m Challenge last year to slash its budget after facing a “significant challenge” due to cuts by the Government.

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Bosses at the trust, which runs hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton, are aiming to save £40m from the £260m budget over three years through a range of changes in the way it operates.

Last year the trust managed to save £16m and they aim to save £15.9m this year, while bosses say it will not see the quality of patient care affected.

Chief executive Alan Foster said: “Last year we launched our £40m challenge. We have to achieve savings of £40m in three years.

“When we launched this, it was because we wanted everyone to understand the scale of the problem. Just like at home we are having to do as much or more with less. Costs are rising but the money to pay for them is not.

“The prospect of making nearly £16m of savings last year was daunting, but we did it.

“This year we need to make savings of a further £15.9m and this cannot be done at the expense of compromising the quality of patient care.”

The savings have been made by using better procurement, a management review and reviews of several other work areas, bringing in a pay restraint, using energy wisely and bringing in an energy-saving scheme, using technology to make services more efficient, extending the Wilbers brand of coffee outlets, and charging Blue badge holders for parking.

Bosses have said previously that while the Government had protected NHS funding from cuts, it has imposed a cap on spending despite the service facing year on year increases in costs.