An internal memo leaked to the Bucks Herald and Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser newspapers has revealed that Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust has been informed there is no ‘discretionary spend’ for departments because of the trust’s ‘current financial position’.
The trust has launched a ‘financial recovery plan’, after finding itself £7.5 million in deficit.
It is now focusing on how to reduce expenditure.
This means reducing ‘discretionary spend’, with examples including:
> Training costs and expenses
> Office supplies
> Minor works
> Computer hardware andsoftware
The trust is now scrutinising all non-clinical spending, to “ensure absolute value for money for every pound spent.”
This will continue, at least until the end of this financial year.
An anonymous source close to the trust claimed: “The finance department has committed numerous similar mistakes and errors during the past few years due to management blunders and lack of appropriate leadership.
“This last error could not be hidden from the media and public attention.
“There are numerous other errors with individual employees of the trust, errors in payments of wages and salaries, delayed payments, payments in error and recall, and even lost transfers from salaries to individual pension funds.
“This is due to frequent staff changes in the finance department as part of general current low morale in the trust.”
The trust assures colleagues that patient care and safety is always highest priority, and this will not be compromised.
Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust sent two comments in response to the memo, both from the director of finance at the trust James Drury.
In response to the point about there being ‘no discretionary spend’ says: “As part of the trust’s normal, responsible financial control processes staff have been asked to think very carefully before spending money on anything other than what is necessary for the provision of safe patient care.
“We have been open about our financial position and take our responsibilities to tackle our financial deficit extremely seriously.
“Part of this responsibility is asking staff at every level to consider what practical efficiencies they can make without impacting patient care.”
In response to the accusation about errors within the finance department Mr Drury says: “The trust looks after more than 6,000 staff and we take our duty of care to the people who work for us very seriously.
“Occasionally, mistakes happen in our back office support systems.
“When they do the trust makes every effort to rectify these issues quickly, and uses the opportunity to review and revise procedures to improve our systems and controls to prevent such mistakes from happening in future.”