A cash-strapped Scottish trust has revealed that it has made £1m in savings on wages but will have to spend an extra £1m on tackling bedblocking this winter.
Tayside University Hospitals trust has saved£1m over the last six months by freezing all recruitment but 'a significant rise in delayed discharges will cost the trust nearly£1m by the end of the financial year', according to finance director Colin Masson.
A taskforce sent in by Scottish health minister Susan Deacon to sort out a£12m crisis at the trust stood down last month after identifying cuts worth over£6m. Mr Masson told the board that the trust's clinical and financial recovery plan was on target to make savings of£6.6m by the end of the financial year but would need to open three extra wards to cope with winter pressures. The cost of doing this would be around£900,000.
Chief executive Paul White explained that trusts had to be sure that patients were discharged into the most appropriate setting, but for the trust this meant 'that it reduces the flexibility in the system and impacts not only on our financial position but also on a trust's ability to deal with patients who are in need of acute care'.
Unison's head of health, Jim Devine, believes that 'the financial strategy that was put in place by the trust was very much an example of robbing Peter to pay Paul and this current situation highlights this. We have very real concerns about the way posts are remaining unfilled in an entirely random way.'
From 1 December bed-blocking rates for each health board are being published by the Information and Statistics Division of the Scottish Executive, to be updated quarterly.