Community health workers have been praised for their response to the Shoreham airshow crash this morning (Thursday 3 September).
The praise came from Sussex Community NHS Trust chief executive Paula Head at the trust’s AGM (annual general meeting).
Ms Head said that frontline staff had once again demonstrated that they rise to the occasion when faced with a challenge – and the past week and a half had been challenging.
She added that the thoughts of everyone at the trust remained with all those affected by the crash.
The AGM, held in Crawley, was told that the trust and its staff needed to find savings totalling about £7 million in a budget of almost £200 million.
The biggest area of spending was staff, accounting for about £135 million – or almost 70 per cent of the trust’s annual budget. The trust employs about 4,400 staff.
The trust provides community health care – medical, nursing and therapeutic – across Brighton and Hove and West Sussex.
Most patients are cared for in their own home or as close to home as possible in places such as community hospitals or local clinics and health centres.
The staff include health visitors, school nurses and a range of clinical specialists.
Ms Head said that the trust had been inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during the past year and found to be good.
And she was pleased with the results of the staff survey that rated the trust as one of the 100 best places to work in the health sector, according to the Health Service Journal.
Finance director Jonathan Reid said: “We’re in the middle of another very challenging year.
“The trust has had a long and turbulent financial history.
“But last year we were able to deliver our planned surplus for the year. And our surplus is money we are then able to invest in our services and staff.”
Mr Reid, not the driest of finance directors, said that for the past few years the trust had had a savings target of about £12 million which was tough on a turnover of about £200 million.
Last year, thanks to recurring savings, he said, the savings target was about £10 million.
This year the savings target had been reduced to £7 million. He praised the way that staff had responded, helping to strengthen the trust’s financial position.
Last year the trust delivered a surplus of £1 million which was 0.5 per cent of out turnover, he said.
This year the target was 1.5 per cent.
Along with the savings target, this would mean another financially challenging year, he said, in common with many organisations across the public sector.
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