At its meeting held in public on 25 February, the Board of Directors at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust heard that the organisation has been able to reduce its forecast deficit for 2015-16 by half a million pounds. The mental health trust for both counties had initially been facing a deficit of £9.4 million; however as a result of efficiency saving measures implemented in December 2015, and income negotiations with the Department of Health, it will end this financial year with an £8.9 million deficit. Julie Cave, Director of Finance, said: “We have been able to lower our agency and bank staff expenditure by £120,000 as a direct result of a successful recruitment drive that has seen 569 new staff join our organisation over the past year.
“Alongside this work, we have also reduced the need for placing patients in out of area beds and therefore decreased our spend in this area. These are the two main financial pressures our Trust identified as key priorities in 2015-16 onwards. “Our Trust has also successfully renegotiated directly with the Department of Health to secure an additional £380,000 to cover the costs for care we have already provided over the past 10 months. “That we have been able to make these savings while addressing the financial challenges faced by all NHS organisations, and without compromising the safety and effectiveness of our services is testament to the commitment and hard work of all our staff. “However, there is still much work to be done to continue reducing our deficit, while making further savings over the next four years.”