NHS staff asked to bring in mugs to cut costs

17 November 2017

An NHS trust has asked surgeons and theatre staff to bring their own mugs and drinks to work as part of a bid to deliver £20m in savings.

An anonymous worker who contacted the Worcester News said theatre staff at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust hospitals had been told that polystyrene cups, as well as tea and coffee, would no long be provided.

The worker said restrictions had also been placed on specialist footwear— washable and slip resistant clogs— the trust provides to staff.

Responding to the report, a spokesman from the trust confirmed that staff facilities had been reduced at its hospitals, which include Alexandra, Kidderminster and Worcestershire Royal, to improve efficiency and eliminate waste.

“Like all NHS organisations we are expected to demonstrate tight control over our finances, show that we are delivering value for money and commit to delivering year-on-year efficiency improvements,” he said.

“For the current financial year, our agreed control total is £42.7m, which requires us to deliver more than £20m of efficiency savings.

“As well as the detailed financial recovery and cost improvement plans in place we have across the trust, we have also recently asked all our staff to look at ways in which they can play a part in stopping unnecessary spending, improving efficiency and eliminating waste in order to help us collectively meet this challenging target. 

“As part of this and in line with all other staff across our three hospital sites, theatre staff have been asked to supply their own mugs and drinks from now on.” 

He added that cups would still be provided for patient use and the trust was still providing the specialist footwear required by theatre staff, although the choice had been restricted to ensure best value for money.

A report on the trust’s financial performance cited the potential for £6m-£14m savings across its hospitals in areas such as theatre productivity, use of temporary staffing, rostering and recruitment.

The report follows the NHS' launch of their procurement league table, which ranks the NHS trusts according to their procurement efficiency.

The trust said it is set to meet the national NHS Improvement team in November to discuss steps to recover its financial position. 

It added that it is awaiting confirmation for a £16.4m loan submitted in July but the report admitted “a higher level of interim cash support would be required” from the government if it fails to reduce costs.

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