NHS Highland receives £27.5m funding boost

NHS Highland's budget will be increased by 5 per cent in 2016-17.
NHS Highland's budget will be increased by 5 per cent in 2016-17.

The amount of money available to spend on healthcare in the Highlands and Islands - including Bute - will go up by five per cent in 2016-17.

Additional funding of £27.5 million, announced this week by health secretary Shona Robison, will take the board’s overall budget for the new financial year to £577.5m.

However, not all of it is available for the health board to spend entirely as it wishes: of the extra £27.5m, more than half - £15.3m - will be invested in social care services as part of the integration of health and social care services currently provided separately by the NHS and Argyll and Bute Council.

That iegration investment will be split between the two health and social care partnerships across NHS Highland, one covering the Highland Council area and the other Argyll and Bute, both of which will come into full force on April 1.

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to increasing NHS Highland’s budget demonstrates our continuing investment in improving care,” Ms Robison said.

“This comes as Scotland’s total health spending reaches almost £13 billion for the first time ever.

“We’re clear that people in Highland should have access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time. With this increase in funding, health boards are being given more support to achieve this.

“The integration of health and social care, which comes into full force on April 1, is the most significant reform of our health and social care services since the creation of the NHS and our investment of £15.3 million for Highland’s health and social care partnerships will help improve people’s experience of care.

“This funding will allow people to be supported to maintain their independence for as long as possible, in their own homes and communities and mean that fewer people need to go to hospital to receive care. Where hospital care is necessary and appropriate, they will spend less time there and return home more quickly.”