The Northern Health and Social Care Trust welcomes the additional funding secured by the Minister in this year’s Monitoring Rounds, and while the £80m 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 hospital sites.”
In the Moyle area this involves the temporary closure of Intermediate Care beds in Dalriada Hospital (20 beds) from the 30 November 2014. The length of stay in our intermediate care beds has been reduced, making the remaining Trust beds more efficient so the Trust is confident that patients’ needs can be met with reduced bed numbers.
This will enable staff to be redeployed to support unscheduled care and acute services at Causeway and Antrim Area Hospitals.
The Multiple Sclerosis Respite Centre will also temporarily close from 30 November 2014 with services being provided in independent nursing homes or via home based respite or direct payments which allow service users to make their own respite arrangements.
For anyone booked for respite in Dalriada Hospital in November the arrangement will take place as planned. Anyone booked in to a place after the end of November will be contacted to agree alternative arrangements based on service user choice.
The Trust remains committed to continuing to meet peoples’ assessed need for respite and is speaking with service users and families to identify how best their care needs can be met. The Trust has also made contact with the MS Society and will endeavour to ensure patients’ needs are at the centre of the process moving forward.
Outpatient clinics in Dalriada Hospital including ante-natal clinics, parentcraft classes, speech and language therapy clinics, physiotherapy and dietetic clinics will continue to operate as normal during this time.
Overall the Trust approach in developing this in-year savings plan has been designed to secure financial balance while securing a safe service model.