Buy your own stationery, hospital staff are told

CHRIS BISHOP Staff at a Norfolk hospital have been told to stop ordering pens and pencils to save money. The edict came in a newsletter to health workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, which is trying to save £7m this year to balance its books.

CHRIS BISHOP

Staff at a Norfolk hospital have been told to stop ordering pens and pencils to save money.

The edict came in a newsletter to health workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, which is trying to save £7m this year to balance its books.

"A restriction on all new

stationery orders was imposed by our turnaround team, following the news in the chief executive's staff briefing that we had missed our

cost savings target last month," it says.

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"The new restriction, which is expected to run at least until the end of this financial year, means that orders for paper, printer cartridges, pens and pencils - or any other office stationery-related supplies - can only be considered as a last resort if there is no alternative."

Hospital managers must save around £580,000 a month to meet financial targets, as the QEH whittles away at a total debt of around £11m.

Last month, the hospital missed its target by £50,000. The deficit was caused by a drop in the number

of operations and people

requiring emergency treatment, which will mean the hospital will receive less funding from the government.

Turnaround manager Fran Rose-Smith told the hospital newsletter Viewpoint: "What this now means is that if we want any items of stationery we'll have to phone a friend, ask the wider audience or generally weigh-up whether or not we can do without it.

"We're trying to look on it in a humorous way but it is absolutely essential that we reduce our overheads."

It adds another idea being considered is an equipment swap shop where redundant items can be traded internally.

Last night a hospital spokesman said: "A lot of staff are already buying their own stationery because they know the trust is in financial difficulty, so they buy their own pens and notebooks.

"This is happening right across the hospital. People are doing a lot to help by subsidising the hospital out of their own pockets."