Update from Director of Finance and Commissioning, Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith web

It’s a very challenging time right across the NHS at the moment. With increased demands, activity and limited funding, the financial pressure on our health service is at an all-time high. As a result our financial position is not where we would want it to be. We have had to increase our use of private ambulance services (PAS) to help improve our patient-facing capacity; with lots of student abstractions and the drive to continue to provide excellent patient care, using PAS helps relieve some of the strain off staff and helps ensure our patients get an improved service and response. This will, however, only be funded if we can show how we are continuing to improve our service to patients.

Trust managers and staff have worked hard to make £52m savings in the past five years through new ideas, opportunities and ways of working. Although we continue to do this, it is becoming increasingly harder – you may well have found this yourself.

NHS Improvement (NHSI) has developed a programme aimed at bringing NHS organisations back in line with the public resources available to fund them, and we’ve met with another trust who has joined the programme to see what we can learn from their experience. We are also working hard with commissioners and NHSI to develop not only a new operating model to sustainably manage the year-on-year increases in demand, but also to support service improvements.

In a very positive development we have agreed £7m of capital funding to support a range of new projects. It is important to say that capital funding is completely separate to our everyday funding. This budget will be going towards the new ambulance stations for Chelmsford and Stevenage, to name a few, update our IT systems, and replacement defibrillators.

Although it continues to be an extremely challenging time financially, we will continue to work with all our commissioners and stakeholders to explore new models of working, which are better for the patient and the tax payer.

As a final note, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the staff and managers in EOCs for their hard work and support on three major projects. These upgrades - MPDS, Lowcode and Dispatch on Disposition - have all gone live and are doing well. Thank you to you all.

Have a good week,


Published 3rd November, 2016

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