Health deficit has reduced

Victoria Hospital, Rothesay.
Victoria Hospital, Rothesay.

Following recent budget announcements, the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has learnt that its budget deficit has reduced from £18m to £14m.

While this was welcome, Caroline Whyte, chief financial officer of the Argyll and Bute HSCP, has said that there is no room for complacency, and changes are on the way.

She commented: “The position has improved following the Scottish Government’s budget approval and local decisions made by NHS Highland and Argyll and Bute Council re their respective budget allocations.

“It is now estimated that the HSCP will have to deliver savings of between £5 million and £6m on top of the existing savings planned in 2018-19, a total of £14m for next year.

“While this improvement to the financial position is clearly welcomed the fact remains that we still have a very large budget gap and we will require to identify and deliver new savings as well as continuing to meet increasing demand for health and social care services and rising costs due to inflation.

“The HSCP took a two year approach to planning for service changes from 2017 to 2019. However it is clear at this stage that some of those proposed service changes will not be in line with our Strategic Plan objectives.

“These will potentially pose us with very difficult decisions to make with conflicting priorities in relation to maintaining quality of care, meeting treatment and waiting time performance standards and ensuring a balanced budget.”