Money tight at health board

NHS SHETLAND bosses have warned that changes needed to be made at the organisation in the years ahead to counter “increased financial pressure”.

 The health board held its annual review in Lerwick on Thursday night as it reflected on the positives and negatives of the last year.

Among the successes highlighted by chief executive Ralph Roberts were improvements in public health in areas such as smoking, children’s dental health and youth obesity.


Also in for praise were the introduction of advanced nurse practitioners at the Lerwick Health Centre and their impact on waiting times, as well as moving the health centre in Scalloway to the village’s old primary school.

NHS chairman Ian Kinniburgh, however, admitted that the current finance restrictions were only going to get tighter.

“It’s a fact of life – we have no spend money,” he said during a Q&A session broadcast live on BBC Radio Shetland.


He conceded that there weren’t enough financial resources available to do services as they were “configured” – although they did manage to balance the books this past year.

Specific areas that the health board felt they could do better included mental health and their emergency inpatient day rate.

Also raised during the review were the results of Shetland MSP Tavish Scott’s recent survey of healthcare in the isles, which revealed that around 73 per cent of locals feel mental health provision is inadequate.

Community health and social care director Simon Bokor-Ingram said that the survey was “useful” and “corroborates what we already know”.

“It would take a number of years for people to see improvements [in services],” he warned, pointing to the time taken to transition.

Kinniburgh also suggested that the NHS need to “embrace change” to deal with the financial climate and let their workforce “to use different skills” to increase output.

He added that deviating from the “status quo” is something that should be encouraged.