Northern Trust implementation of savings plan

30 October 2014

The Northern Trust welcomes the additional funding secured by the Minister in this year’s Monitoring Rounds, and while the £80 m secured will help protect health and social care services, it will not avoid the full impact of the gap in this year’s funding. Therefore the Trust has been required to develop a contingency plan for the remaining part of 2014/2015 to achieve reduced spend in-year of £6.9m.

In identifying areas to make these savings the Trust adopted principles that underpin the core delivery of health and social care:

  • to prioritise services that respond to emergencies, protect those at risk, and support the most vulnerable children, adults and older people;
  • to consolidate services in ways that make best use of resources and reduce our requirement for temporary and locum staff; and
  • to deliver savings in ways that effectively manage risks to the quality of services and ensure the safety of service users and staff.
  • This plan, while challenging, will enable the Trust to reduce spending while protecting key frontline services.

The Trust Chief Executive, Dr Tony Stevens, said: “We have delivered substantial year on year savings, while maintaining high quality services to the people we serve. The further savings required represent 1% of our total expenditure and, while presenting a significant challenge at this stage of the year, are achievable. We remain focused on minimising the impact on frontline services. The additional savings are required to respond to very real cost pressures in our system that includes inflation, continuing demand and other unavoidable costs.”

“In drawing up these proposals we have emphasised the need to secure a safe service model, while acknowledging that there are limited ways of making cash savings in such a short time frame. One third of our savings comes from reducing reliance on temporary staff, locums, bank and agency staff, as well as reducing travel costs and introducing overtime restrictions”, explained Dr Stevens.

“In order to achieve this, temporary service changes will be put in place in non-acute hospitals that will allow staff to be redeployed to the acute hospitals sites.”

The Trust will temporarily close 27 intermediate care/rehabilitation beds, including seven beds in Mid Ulster Hospital and 20 beds in Dalriada Hospital. This will allow the Trust to reduce bank and agency usage with staff being redeployed to support acute services at Causeway and Antrim Area hospitals. The length of stay in our intermediate care beds has been reduced, making the remaining beds more efficient so the Trust are confident that patients’ needs can be met with reduced bed numbers.

The Trust will also temporarily reprovide Multiple Sclerosis (MS) respite services currently provided in Dalriada Hospital in the Independent sector, or through direct payments to service users, based on service user choice.

Whiteabbey Minor Injuries Unit currently provides a service to approximately 40 patients per day from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. It will close temporarily, from 1 December, allowing the staff to be redeployed to support emergency and urgent care at Antrim Area Hospital.

Overall our approach is designed to secure financial balance while delivering a safe service model.

7th November 2014

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