More sustainable ways of saving money such as reducing patients’ length of stay will be considered by hospital chiefs as they battle to cut spending by £17.5m in the coming financial year.
While savings of around £17m have been made this year by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, these have largely been one-off cutbacks.
But to make the books balance in future, more sustainable reductions need to be made, a meeting of the board of directors was told.
This includes more efficient use of theatres for surgery and sending patients home sooner – but bosses warned savings needed to go hand in hand with maintaining patient care.
Deputy chief executive and director of finance Tim Bennett told the meeting the same level of investment would be made into winter funding next year and there would be further investment in cancer services.
But he warned the squeeze on resources could impact on planned surgery meaning waiting lists could get worse.
He said: “There are concerns that doesn’t allow us to make further inroads in other elective surgey.
“There is real potential this could get worse in terms of waiting times.”
He said longstanding changes needed to be made to save money year on year.
This included working more closely with partner organisations such as the clinical commissioning groups to better manage the amount of time patients spend in hospital.
Non-executive director Mark Cullinan said one-off savings could not be moved from one year to the next and “that has an impact on the day to day efficiencies of the Trust.”
But he added there was an ambition to reduce the length of patient stay which would lead to savings, and potentially improve the outcome for patients as well.
He said: “We recognise the driver for this is a quality issue as for patients who stay in hospital longer than they need to, that can have a negative impact on their health.”
He added other areas to be looked at included efficiencies around how the hospital operating theatres are run.