Fears over cash mess at Health Board
Financial challenges are ‘ likely to continue’
Serious reservations have been raised over the finances of under- pressure NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
The health authority are struggling to balance the books despite being given a £ 23million bailout in loans from the Scottish Government.
But in a report by the Audit General, Caroline Gardner, says that NHS Ayrshire and Arran will need further government cash to cope with a projected shortfall of £ 22.4m.
And she expressed “serious reservations” around the health board’s ability to “make changes” that are needed to “achieve financial balance in the future”.
The report states that the health authority will not be able to balance its budget by 2020/ 21 and that it has no plans to repay the loans to the Scottish Government.
It needs to implement its T r a n s f o rma t i o n C h a n g e Improvement Plan and act on the recommendations of an external review. John Burns, chief executive of NHS Ayrshire & Arran, says that the financial sustainability of the health board has been an “increasing challenge over recent years” due to the hike in “unscheduled care demand”.
He added: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran is committed to delivering safe, sustainable services.
“We recognise the requirement to achieve this through best value and within our budget of over £ 800m.
“Due to increasing unscheduled care demand, this has required extra hospital beds to be opened, as well as cost pressures, including new drugs and agency medical costs to sustain services.
“However, 2017/ 2018 was the first year that we received financial brokerage. In recent years we have needed to achieve higher levels of cash releasing efficiency savings.
“These savings have been difficult to achieve and 40 per cent of the £ 24.8m savings made in 2017/ 18 were non- recurring.
“NHS Ay r s h i re & Arran established a transformational change programme two years ago to co- ordinate service redesign proposals.
“Many of these redesigns take several years before the benefit is seen in terms of operating costs.
“Success requires reform and redesign across all our health and social care services.
“We are also working closely with colleagues in Scottish Government who are supporting us through the change process.”