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Health / Struggle to increase funding for NHS continues

NHS Shetland is pursuing a permanent increase in budget with the recognition that certain costs, such as locums, are likely to recur into the future.

The health board heard today (Tuesday) that it is facing a £1.1 million overspend with savings of £288,000 that are £139,000 less than were planned.

Interim chief executive Simon Bokor-Ingram said that the board was at the point of having to consider spendings that had been treated as irregular cost pressures as “baseline” costs for NHS Shetland.

Bokor-Ingram and chairman Gary Robinson are to meet with Scottish Government officials with the aim of securing a £1.2 million primary care funding increase that was also granted last year.

Interim chief executive Simon Bokor-Ingram Photo: Shetland News

“Ideally, we would get that recurrently,” said Bokor-Ingram following the meeting. “It would give us much more surety about our planning assumptions each year, to get that recurrently.

“If the cost is never going to reduce then we need to factor that into our yearly planning assumptions, rather than than to keep talking about it as a cost pressure.”

The £1.2m is needed to “secure primary care” he added.

The forecast out-turn position is that the Board will achieve its statutory obligation to break even if the £1.2m for primary care is received.

The report by finance director Colin Marsland says: “However this projection is based upon the level of savings identified in the agreed financial plan are delivered and an additional £1.2m from Scottish Government regarding specific services funding for Primary Care.”

Financial problems continue to stem from the number of locums employed by the NHS locally. “All the GP and acute services consultant vacancies have already all been through at least three recruitment campaigns,” says the report.

The meeting also heard that 83 per cent of NHS Shetland resources were spent in the isles.

NHS Shetland is presently advertising for a new chief executive.