Addenbrooke's Hospital stops providing ice in water jugs in bid to save £39,000

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A struggling hospital plans to save £39,000 a year by stopping patients having ice in their water jugs.

Addenbrooke's Hospital - which announced on Monday that its chief executive and finance officer have resigned - blamed budget cuts for the move.

The hospital, run by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is running a deficit reported to be £1.2 million a week.

One visitor, Michelle Lewis, requested ice for her friend, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, during a visit on Sunday, the BBC reported.

She said "very cold water makes it easier for her to swallow her tablets" but was left "horrified and gobsmacked" when two healthcare workers and a member of catering staff told her ice had been removed from jugs "because of budget cuts".

A hospital spokesman said it was "reviewing who needs ice for clinical treatments".

He said: "Wards need to call patient catering and it is issued on a bag-by-bag basis.

"We are looking at how we save money across the trust. Currently £39,000 (per year) is spent on ice in water jugs.

"We also need to ensure that the water is coming out of the taps at the right temperature and there is a piece of work we will be undertaking into that."

The hospital's chief executive, Dr Keith McNeil, announced on Monday that he was leaving the hospital after almost three years in the role.

He said it had "been a very difficult decision".

He added: "It is a matter of public record that we face a number of very serious challenges here in Cambridge, including a growing financial deficit, and I feel the time is right to have new leadership in place."

The trust also announced that Paul James, chief finance officer since August 2014, had decided to resign.