Health chiefs are facing the challenge of shaving more than £27 million off all spending at a North-east health board – and the challenge has already got harder.
NHS Grampian, which is funded by the Scottish Government to provide public health services across the region, was given £867.2m to spend on services between the start of April and the end of next March. That is £27.7m less than last year – and the challenge is now on for health bosses to find ways to break even.
According to a report out today, the financial year has not got off to the best start.
It said: “The results for the first quarter (April to June) show a year to date overspend of £1.995m for NHS directly controlled services. As noted in previous financial reports, significant financial pressures continue to be experienced on medical staffing costs and, to a lesser extent, nursing budgets.”
While the board is ahead of budget in some areas, such as recovering income from other organisations, the report said “the results highlight the financial challenges faced by NHS Grampian this year”.
“NHS Grampian needs to make new cash savings in the (current) financial year of £27.7m if a revenue break even position is to be achieved,” the report said.
The board’s senior leadership team is producing and reviewing a financial tracking document each month to ensure they can monitor finances and balance the books.
An SNP spokesman added: “All health boards have an expectation of delivering efficiency savings each year to ensure that public money is being spent as effectively as possible.”
One way NHS Grampian is saving money is by making its buildings greener and more energy efficient.
However, like other health boards, it is facing a difficult task in trying to recruit new staff to fill vacancies.
Last week, Audit Scotland said NHS Grampian cancelled 45% of interview panels for vacant consultant roles in the 2016/17 tax year due to a shortage of candidates and the average annual cost to NHS Grampian for one agency nurse in 2016/17 was £82,413.
The report was to go before the board at today’s meeting.