The Health Of Nations

A couple of stories in yesteday’s YEP reveal some more of the symptoms of our sick city.

More Leeds hospital cuts to bridge £15.8m gap:

DRASTIC spending cutbacks at Leeds hospitals have been introduced to try to save £15.8m.

Strict controls on filling vacant jobs, overtime and the use of bank and agency nurses have again been brought in as managers struggle to balance the books.

And there are constraints on non-essential, non-pay spending.

And that headline quite-literally, doesn’t even cover half of it:

Additional cost-cutting is needed because it did not bring in extra income by treating more patients last year, as had been budgeted for.

That means a total funding gap of just over £54m

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust managers have identified £22.2m of savings and plans are in place to carry out extra treatments on patients which will raise £16m.

But that still leaves a funding gap of £15.8m – so the strict spending controls on staffing have been brought in while a new plan to save the cash is drawn up.

One might reasonably suspect that this gaping financial hole might have some implications for the health services for the people in Leeds –  a concern raised at a recent meeting:

Trust board non-executive director Mark Abrahams told a meeting of hospital directors: “This recruitment freeze has got to bite much harder and much deeper if its going to deliver what we need.

“What implications does that have for the level of service?”

[Trust finance director Neil Chapman] said the answer was that they had to maintain quality.

“Well, glad that’s been cleared up!” says Tiberius – while disinfecting his house and coverting the small bedroom into a make-shift Operating Theatre.

Meanwhile, not far away the University of Leeds is doing its best to ensure that the city’s medical care will be poor even into the future:

Leeds lecturers fear job axe repercussions:

VITAL training and health research will be lost because of budget cuts, university lecturers have claimed.

About 80 jobs are at risk at the University of Leeds as part of a restructuring exercise – up to 60 of them in the Biological Sciences department, and another 20 in the Healthcare faculty.

Yesterday, members of the Leeds branch of the University and College Union (UCU) protested against the plans on the steps of the student union building in Woodhouse.

“These plans are sheer madness,” said UCU spokesman Prof Malcolm Povey, Professor of Food Physics at the university. “We are talking about people who are researching cures for cancer, and nurse training for frontline staff in the NHS.”

And Tiberius suspects even the health-care provisions for ‘sheer madness’ aren’t what they used to be.

See also: Research Costs

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