FENLAND: Queen Elizabeth Hospital clears its historic �11 million debt
AN �11 million debt that three years ago threatened to plunge the Queen Elizabeth Hospital into financial meltdown is due to be cleared - paving the way for the hospital to apply for Foundation Trust status.In March 2006, the hospital was facing a debt o
AN �11 million debt that three years ago threatened to plunge the Queen Elizabeth Hospital into financial meltdown is due to be cleared - paving the way for the hospital to apply for Foundation Trust status.
In March 2006, the hospital was facing a debt of �11 million, with predictions that unless drastic action was taken, this could rise to nearly �18 million within a few months.
A specialist in-house "turnaround" team was set up, assisted by external consultants, to tackle the problems.
This process was completed after more than three years of internal housekeeping, during which a private caterer took over the caf� and the staff residencies were sold to save money.
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The director of finance and capital planning on the hospital trust, Jeremy Cook, will tell members of the board on Monday that the finance year ended with a �6.2 million cash surplus, which clears the remaining �5.4 million debt.
An application for Foundation Trust status has now been submitted by the hospital, as they could not apply while they were in debt.
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Chief executive Nerissa Vaughan said: "This is a fantastic achievement and a tribute to the hard work and dedication of staff throughout the trust. Everyone has played their part by pulling together and putting in a tremendous effort to reduce our costs and improve our income. But the most important points are that
"We have continued to meet all government targets during that time while maintaining the quality of services to our patients.
"In fact, in many areas the standard of service has actually improved during the past few years. We have come through 'turnaround' a much more efficient organisation and we are now more than ready for the challenge of becoming a Foundation Trust."
During the housekeeping process, the team worked with staff at all levels to introduce measures that saw services streamlined, cost-saving measures introduced, and made changes to ensure that all work carried out by medical staff was properly charged and paid-for.
In the first year, these measures allowed the hospital to make a surplus of �1.4 million. The following year a surplus of �4.5 million was achieved, leaving �5.4 million to clear in 2008/09.