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‘We are suffering’ - hospital to fight for funding as MPs raise plight with chancellor

PUBLISHED: 16:04 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 February 2020

The total deficit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is predicted to reach £57.8m by the end of March 2020. NNUH

The total deficit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is predicted to reach £57.8m by the end of March 2020. NNUH

Archant © 2018

Bosses at a cash-strapped hospital have vowed to fight hard for funding after being penalised for not meeting budget targets.

Sam Higginson, chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUHSam Higginson, chief executive at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) will be denied an extra £21m in funding by NHS England after it spent £16.2m more than planned this financial year.

Without the extra NHS funding and a planned deficit of £20.7m, the hospital is expected to be almost £58m in the red this year.

At a board meeting on Wednesday, non-executive director Tim How told members that the overspend was caused by staff costs and the high number of cancelled operations in December.

Some 130 patients had their surgeries cancelled.

It also had to open extra beds to meet high demand, costing it more cash.

However, a GP service introduced midway through December at the emergency department helped around 400 patients, relieving some of the pressure.

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Mr How said: "It's tough to be penalised when we are suffering. 
"We need to argue strongly for funding as we go forward into next year."

The NNUH's deficit is increasing every month. It is now £40m and is expected to reach £57m by the end of March 2020. Image: Archant/InfogramThe NNUH's deficit is increasing every month. It is now £40m and is expected to reach £57m by the end of March 2020. Image: Archant/Infogram

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker met Chancellor Sajid Javid on Wednesday to lobby for the expansion of the hospital's emergency department.

The NNUH had the worst waiting times in the country for A&E between September and December last year.

"We were crystal clear that we have a problem in terms of A&E at the NNUH," Ms Smith said.

"We made the case to the chancellor for a capacity upgrade and we were pleased that he really got it.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith meeting Chancellor Sajid Javid on Wednesday February 5 2020 to discuss expansion of the NNUH's A&E department. Photo: Chloe SmithNorwich North MP Chloe Smith meeting Chancellor Sajid Javid on Wednesday February 5 2020 to discuss expansion of the NNUH's A&E department. Photo: Chloe Smith

"Our next step will be to work with the hospital to make sure that we have the strongest possible business case for using taxpayers' money wisely to make things better."

On Wednesday the hospital board meeting also heard that it was "going in the right direction" following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in December.

In two feedback letters, the CQC praised staff and said the NNUH had taken "significant steps to change the culture of the hospital".

A CQC inspection in 2018, when the hospital was under different leadership, found a "bullying culture" with staff fearing reprisals if they raised concerns.


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