Hospital trust took out a loan to pay staff and bills

A DEFICIT budget of £19.4 million for health care in 2013/14 will not mean a reduction in quality of services.

That’s the pledge from the cash-strapped East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust which has been given a loan to make sure its staff and supply bills do not go unpaid.

Members of the Trust’s audit committee met at the Manor Barn in Bexhill Old Town to discuss priorities and aims for the coming year.

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A spokesman said afterwards: “We would like to reassure people that this will not mean a reduction in the quality of services that we provide.

“A cash funding loan was received in June from the Department of Health to ensure we can continue to pay suppliers and staff.

“The total income available to the trust has reduced this year by £30 million.

“We are working with the NHS Trust Development Authority to find a solution that ensures that we can continue to provide high quality, safe and sustainable services to patients in East Sussex.”

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Meanwhile - at a time of warnings that A&E departments across Britain faces serious crisis because they are under so much pressure - the Trust found its quarterly four hour target for patients to be seen had only just not succeeded.

It was feared that while performance had improved “significantly” the quarterly target would still not be met. This was true but only by a narrow margin.

The percentage of A&E patients treated and either admitted or discharged within 4 hours between April-June 2013 was 94.2 percent, slightly below the 95 percent target.

Measures were put in place following April’s performance and since then the Trust has exceeded the target.