Monday 24 June 2024
 11.1°C   S Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Health service finances look safe for the year, but ‘change needed’

NHS SHETLAND finances look set to balance at the end of the financial year if the Scottish Government makes good on indications it will write-off brokerage debts for health boards.

The local NHS had been on course for a £3.748 million overspend for services contracted to the Integration Joint Board alone, with the Shetland Islands Council, the other service partner to the IJB set for a £445k overspend.

But it appears that the widespread demand from health boards for brokerage – loans that must be repaid to the government – has convinced Edinburgh officials that boards are simply not getting enough money.

A report from NHS Shetland chief financial officer Karl Williamson says: “The latest information from the Scottish Government is that all brokerage up to the end of 2018/19 will be written off so the impact of brokerage on the IJB is expected to be minimal going into 2019/20.

“As a result of the above it is anticipated that the IJB, as a separate legal entity, will reach a break-even position for the financial year 2018/19.”

NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said at an IJB meeting on Wednesday: “We have had a positive response from the Scottish Government because I think the Scottish Government believes we are doing the right things and there is a level of belief and trust that they should continue to support us.

“It’s true we spend more on health and social care than anywhere else in Scotland (per head) and there are valid reasons for a proportion of that cost being necessary.”

The meeting also considered the labyrinthine nature of health service funding; with the Scottish Government delivering its major money at the start of the year, which is topped up by separate pots and perhaps a final settlement nearer the end of the year – an arrangement that makes reconciling budgets with the health board’s “strategic plan” almost impossible.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

The report also states that NHS Shetland needed to “identify £2.077m in savings in 2018/19, but to-date no recurrent or non-recurrent savings has been achieved.”

“The underlying gap is still there year on year and there is an additional gap as new costs emerge year on year. We will still have to rely on significant non-recurrent support next year to get us on target,” said Roberts.

The board’s financial headaches have spurred a widespread overhaul of service delivery. IJB chairwoman Marjorie Williamson said that even though a new strategic plan was being drawn up, what was needed was a detailed operational plan that would embrace the needed savings.

She said that with persistent lobbying the Scottish Government might be persuaded to up its funding to health boards given the widespread financial trouble that had unrolled this year.

The meeting also heard that the use of locum doctors must be eliminated and services that are presently delivered in Aberdeen should be available locally as much as possible.

The IJB’s “adverse variance” of £4.193 million was close to a figure quoted by IJB vice chairman Allison Duncan as NHS Shetland’s spend on locums over an 18 month period. Roberts said that the government would not provide extra money specifically for the cost of locums.

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.