August 29 2014 Latest news:

A COHORT of more than 125 new nurses and medics will start at Ipswich Hospital in the next year as bosses invest £3.6million in front line staff to care for patients.

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A total of £22m is expected to be injected into the hospital’s budget for 2013/14 as board members prepare to sign off the next financial plan.

While the majority will be set aside to account for inflation in wages and drug prices, a significant amount will be used to directly influence patient care, the trust’s new chief executive Nick Hulme pledged.

He told The Star that amid a culture of tough financial restraints endemic across the NHS, it is “encouraging” to be able to invest in front line staff.

A recruitment drive has been launched with the aim of employing more than 100 established nursing staff, as well as a number of new consultants and other medical staff totalling around 25 new posts.

Mr Hulme, who took over at the hospital on April 1, said: “There are some areas, like nursing, where we have been understaffed in the past.

“It is these areas where we need to invest in posts.

“It is a tough financial environment and we will have to make some savings in other areas. But it is not just cuts, cuts, cuts.

“Our staff survey hasn’t been great. People do feel under pressure, that might be about not having enough staff but it is also about systems and processes not working terribly well.

“We have taken a step back and said knowing what we know about how sick patients are across the hospital we have looked at the numbers we need to provide a safe environment.

“In some areas gaps have been filled by bank staff but you don’t get the same consistency as with permanent staff who put their heart and soul into their jobs and will inevitably think about it a bit differently.”

The hospital has faced a battle against spiralling debt. In 2011 the finances plummeted to around £11m in the red sparking a series of austerity measures.

But the last financial year (2012/13) ended with the hospital breaking even, paving the way for a brighter year ahead as the trust aims to achieve Foundation Trust status.

“I am positive about the next financial year,” Mr Hulme added.

“What’s encouraging about working at Ipswich is that staff recognise we are working in a tough financial environment.

“All departments are starting to look at different ways of working to take the waste out of some of our systems.

“You can’t run a £250m business without some waste but all changes have to go through a quality assessment to be risk assessed against the impact on patient care.

“But I am encouraged. We are working in partnership with the CCG to look at changes in the whole healthcare system to make sure people are treated by the right healthcare professional, in the right place at the right time.

“It is a tough financial situation but as we can see, it is not all doom and gloom.”

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