Pledge to invest in local hospitals

Community hospitals need serious investment to help them meet modern healthcare standards, say health chiefs in Waveney.

Community hospitals need serious investment to help them meet modern healthcare standards, say health chiefs in Waveney.

After a damning report criticised the lack of privacy and building maintenance at hospitals in Beccles and Southwold, they yesterday promised to invest so the hospitals can provide efficient and effective health care.

At the Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust (PCT) board meeting yesterday, members agreed to spend £370,000 addressing the most urgent problems at the hospitals.

Chief executive Mike Stonard said: "Our priority has to be improving health and safety standards in these hospitals and clinics. There are problems which date back several years but we are undergoing a service review so we don't want to invest in a ward which is going to be rebuilt in the near future.

"But we will continue to spend on community facilities which can provide health care closer to home for as long as people keep telling us that is what they want."

As well as setting aside money to be spent on community hospitals, the PCT announced that it has reduced its debt from almost £13m to £1.2m since its formation last autumn.

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David Matthews, director of finance and performance, said: "When the trust was formed, we inherited a lot of debt. We haven't achieved our aim of breaking even this year but we have been successful in reducing our overspend significantly."

Chairman Bernard Williamson said the trust was in a much better financial position than many others and they were determined to break even this year.

A report on low-priority procedures, including IVF and breast screening for women under 50, was also approved by the board, meaning that such treatments will continue to be provided on an exceptional basis where cases are considered individually.