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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Cash strapped Eastbourne Hospital Trust paying £275,000 for advisor to save money

November 27, 2013 3:38 PM

The Turnaround Director hired to patch up the ailing finances of the East Sussex Healthcare Trust is apparently being paid over a quarter of a million pounds by the Trust Board, Stephen Lloyd MP has been told. This money is the fee the Director is receiving for 6 months work of cutting hospital services.

The Trust has also made it clear that it does not intend to return full Maternity and Paediatric services to the DGH, despite assurances at the time that this was to be a temporary move and subject to a consultation. This contravenes the understanding of the NHS Trust Development Authority who oversee ESHT and had been reassured that the move is only temporary, which they emphasised when they recently met in London with the MP Stephen Lloyd and Liz Walke, Chair of the cross party SavetheDGH team.

It appears the Hospital is under particular strain at the moment with the approach of winter and the imminent downgrades of General Surgery and A&E. This is having significant negative impact on the morale of staff and there is a growing exodus of employees who are unhappy at the damaging effects of the cuts imposed by the Senior Management.

Stephen Lloyd MP said: "I am simply appalled at the current state of affairs at our local hospital. Wards are closing, Emergency Orthopaedics and General Surgery are moving to Hastings, Senior Clinicians have categorically told me that A&E will be little more than a Minor Injuries Unit within weeks, and yet we hear that apparently the new Turnaround Director appointed by the Chief Executive and Chairman is on a fee of over a quarter of a million pounds! Furthermore, this consultancy payment is only for a 6 month contract and appears to be his reward for downgrading our hospital even further."

He added "Our DGH appears to be on the edge. Staff are leaving in droves, I am receiving regular calls and emails from desperate employees almost on a daily basis, and the Chief Executive appears to have told our council that there is no chance full Maternity and Paediatrics will ever return. But while all this is going on, they appoint someone whose income combined with the Chief Executive's is heading towards half a million pounds! It is time for HOSC at the County Council, and our own local GP Commissioning Group to ask themselves a very serious question - are you with us or against in trying to stop the Eastbourne DGH from being turned into a cottage hospital?"

Liz Walke, Chair of the SavetheDGH Campaign said: "It is truly disgusting that a cash-strapped Trust is spending this sort of money which would have paid for at least 10 nurses and midwives. On one hand staff have recently been asked by the Chief Executive for ideas on how to save money and on the other, they have recruited someone who is being paid over a quarter of a million pounds. Something is very wrong and it is local people who are picking up the price tag with cuts in essential services. Inevitably it will cost lives. How much longer can this go on?

She went on: "No wonder the Trust is in debt and can't keep to its budget. What with this and the millions having been spent on Management Consultants, is it any wonder there's money problems! What else is going on that we don't know about? Enough is enough! This Trust Senior Management is not fit for purpose and should go!"

"We believe it is time for a complete change and for serious talks on demerging the Trust, with Hastings and Eastbourne being completely separate with their respective catchment areas. This cannot come soon enough. Staff need to know their local jobs are safe otherwise they will leave if they haven't already done so. Who wants to add an extra two hours travel to their working day and further away should an emergency arise. Also local pregnant women need to know they can give birth locally in the Midwife-led unit and if needed doctors will be available in an instant not over 20 miles away on congested single carriageway roads. Furthermore our local children need to have 24/7 paediatric care at the DGH. It is unfair for a very sick child to have to travel to another town over 20 miles away to get treatment. Winter is virtually upon us we want action now!"