Ar­gyll health care faces £22m of cuts in two years

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.’

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