£35m to bail out two NHS boards
TWO crisis-hit health boards each had to be bailed out with up to £18million of taxpayers’ cash last year.
NHS Tayside was given £16.7million by the Scottish Government in 018-19, say reports by Scotland’s Auditor General.
Over that time NHS Highland, which also faces bullying allegations, required £18million of government loans.
Public spending watchdog Audit Scotland warned both boards still face big challenges in balancing their books.
Labour’s health spokesman Monica Lennon said described the assessment as ‘extremely worrying, adding: ‘Patients and NHS staff deserve better.’
Auditor General Caroline Gardner said she has concerns on NHS Highland’s ability to make ‘urgent and major’ changes needed. Her report says: ‘There are concerns over the wider governance and culture.’
Miss Gardner said NHS Tayside faces ‘substantial long-term financial and operational challenges’, despite making some improvements.
Jenny Marra, convener of Holyrood’s public audit committee, said: ‘There is still a long way to go to secure the future of NHS Tayside.’ On NHS Highland, she added: ‘This report will ring alarm bells for the committee.’
NHS Tayside chief executive Grant Archibald said a three-year plan to return NHS Tayside to break-even ‘is delivering good results’. An NHS Highland spokesman said it ‘acknowledges the significant challenge it faces’.
A Scottish Government spokesman said next year’s ‘baseline resource budget’ for NHS Tayside and NHS Highland had increased by .9 per cent. He added: ‘We have also increased financial flexibilities for NHS boards so they can work towards a balanced and sustainable financial position.’
⬛ Scotland needs at least 3 0 more NHS beds to avert a winter crisis, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned. Official figures show a 6 per cent fall in staffed hospital beds since
013 to 13,105 last year.