UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Sunday 23 June 2024
 11.4°C   WSW Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Draft budget ‘lacks detail’ on what will be coming isles’ way

Tough funding climate set to continue for health board

NHS Shetland will continue to face a “challenging position” despite an increase in funding outlined by the Scottish Government in its draft budget today.

Under the draft spending plans announced by Scottish finance secretary Derek Mackay on Wednesday afternoon, the isles’ health service would receive an extra £1.2 million (2.4 per cent) for 2019/2020.

Mackay said that the budget proposals had to be taken in the contest of Brexit, with a “no-deal” meaning the budget would have to be revisited. It will also have to pass intense scrutiny and negotiation before it is passed.

The budget contained a commitment to “seek to reduce passenger and car fares on ferry services to Orkney and Shetland”.

It also commits to “maximising the return from the oil and gas sector, within the context of reducing emissions”.

And it speaks of continued support for an ultra deep water port at Dales Voe and maximising opportunities for decommissioning in the North Sea through the Decommissioning Challenge Fund.

Despite NHS Shetland’s proposed increase from £49.4 million to £50.6 million the organisation anticipates costs will increase by £2.7 million “as a result of inflation, nationally agreed pay awards, new and increased prescribing of drugs and the impact of increasing demand on services as our population ages”.

A statement from NHS Shetland said: “This means, along with our current costs already being £2.4m more than our budget, that NHS Shetland will need to reduce our current costs by around £ 3.9m if we are to deliver a balanced budget.

“As has been previously described by the board this is an extremely challenging position and we are continuing to look at what we would need to do to deliver this.

“We are currently planning to present a budget to our board meeting in February and will need to continue to work with the Scottish Government, staff, partners and very importantly the local community if we are to create sustainable services for the future.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

NHS Shetland also expects to receive some further funding to support a range of national priorities such as primary and community care, mental health and access targets.

MSP Tavish Scott said that there was insufficient detail in the spending plans to say whether they merited support, but much more detail should emerge in the months prior to its final hearing.

Scott said the he was “disappointed” there seemed to be nothing to address the long-running issue of teachers pay and conditions in the document.

He also said that the budget controversially awards a near £10 million increase to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, which has just introduced a parking charge at Sumburgh Airport and is reviewing its water rescue provision at Sumburgh and other isles’ airports.

Scott added: “So much for them needing to raise money by introducing car park charges.”

Inter-island ferry support, which has been the subject of intense negotiation between Transport Scotland and Shetland Islands Council, remains static at £10.5 million for all Scotland’s island groups, and there is no certainty the council will get the £7.9 million it has been looking for.

Council leader Steven Coutts said: “The Finance Secretary has made some very interesting commitments in his speech today.

“The details, however, will only fully emerge over the coming days and weeks and obviously we will now look closely at what these will mean for our own spending.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.