Call for change at health board

Michael Russell MSP
Michael Russell MSP

Local MSP Michael Russell has called for major changes to the management of the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership.

This comes after plans for more cuts to health and social care provision were leaked last week ahead of the partnership’s meeting this week.

In a scathing attack Mr Russell (SNP) said: “In Argyll & Bute too much centralised bureaucracy, ineffective, confusing consultations and misguided, and often futile, attempts to force through unacceptable closures have resulted in an ever worsening financial position.

“Financial problems facing the board of the partnership are in substantial part the result of their own shortcomings. They arise directly from their failure to successfully change and develop what their organisation does in order to match changing need in the area. This is compounded by the failure of the organisation to implement effective budgetary control year after year.

“I know from my constituency work that local people and hardworking health and care staff are utterly fed up with this situation and with the constant pressures on services. Now, to make matters worse, many of those in the frontline face losing their jobs as a result of new cuts.

“Yet the partnership, by its own admission, hasn’t even met its current targets for cost savings. It won’t. Even if these cuts happened we would be back again next year in the same position. It is the people who are running the show who are the problem because they have the wrong solutions. That needs to change now.”

An HSCP spokesman said: “We are facing a challenging financial outlook with an estimated remaining budget gap of £5.3 million for the 2018/19 financial year and an overall savings requirement of £13m.

“We are aware that speculation over the proposals has been unsettling and we will make sure that staff, our local communities and all other interested parties are promptly informed of the outcome from the meeting and that appropriate engagement/consultation processes are carried out as required.”