Argyll health care faces £22m of cuts in two years
HEALTH and social care services in Argyll and Bute face having to make savings of £22 million over the next two years.
The ‘extremely challenging’ cost- cutting was announced to members of the Argyll and Bute Integrated Joint Board (IJB) at their meeting on Wednesday January 25.
A budget outlook report estimated that IJB will be required to make savings of £16.3 million for 2017-18 and a further £ 5.7 million for 2018-19 from its annual budget of £256 million.
Christina West, chief officer for the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership, said: ‘The budget outlook report presented to the Integrated Joint Board today highlights that the IJB is, like all public sector organisations, facing an extremely challenging financial situation.
‘The need to find savings of this scale is due to a range of factors, including increasing demands on health and social care services, the effects of inflation and the estimated level of funding from our part- ner bodies, NHS Highland and Argyll and Bute Council.
‘In December 2016, the Scottish Government published its Health and Social Care Delivery Plan, which details how health and social care services need to transform. This means increasing the speed of change from reactive emergency-based services such as those provided in hospitals to community-based services which focus on prevention, early intervention and helping people make better lifestyle choices and manage their own conditions.
‘As a public sector body, the IJB also has to deliver services within its budget and it is clear that to meet all the challenges we cannot continue to do things the same way. We have started the process of planning for this and have involved locality planning groups in developing proposals for change to fundamentally transform services.’
Ms West said the services would prioritise anticipatory care ( planning and minimising the need for emergency or urgent care or a crisis response), prevention of ill health, and maintenance of health and wellbeing.
She added: ‘ To deliver this change, we have included in our financial planning a new investment of approximately £2 million in our community and health improvement services over the next two years to help achieve this transformation.
“We will also be continuing to focus on tackling the waste in our systems and processes, reducing duplication, using digital technology to increase productivity, rationalising the number of buildings we operate from and making the best use of the capacity and skills of our workforce.
‘The IJB will have to make difficult decisions and choices which we know will cause anxiety and concerns in local communities, and it is incumbent upon the IJB to explain to the public and our staff the reason that we need to make these changes.
‘ We are already seeking views, comments and suggestions from the public, partners and our staff on a number of local projects where we believe we need to redesign services.’