MSP claims budget is unclear on £6.2m cuts

NHS D&G Finance Director katy lewis.
NHS D&G Finance Director katy lewis.

An MSP has accused the Scottish Government of putting patient care at risk due to a failure to properly fund the NHS.

This comes following a new report which revealed that NHS Dumfries and Galloway faces having to make over £17 million of cuts during the next financial year to balance the books.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said the report to Dumfries and Galloway Health Board reveals that a budget for the year ahead has been agreed despite it being unclear where a massive £6.2m of the £17.346m cuts will be found.

The report highlights a number of financial risks facing the health board including the increased cost of prescriptions, increasing costs of medical locums to fill the current shortage of key staff, the risk of possible GP resignations, the pressures associated with the move to the new hospital.

The local health board has also laid out a case for an extra £4.5m investment needed to meet waiting times and pressures on emergency care at the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

The latest figures published by the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division (ISD) showed that 89.2% of patients were treated in A&E at Dumfries and Galloway within 4 hours- that’s below the Scottish Government target of 95% in the week between 25 March and 1 April. 16 patients were forced to wait over eight hours, with two waiting over 12 hours.

So far the new infirmary has failed to meet the Accident and Emergency target since it opened.

Director of Finance Katy Lewis said: “NHS Dumfries and Galloway approved its financial plan for 2018/19 at its recent board meeting identifying savings of £17.346 million to be delivered to remain in financial balance.

“The Board recognises that we’re currently facing an unprecedented level of financial challenge.

“And we are committed to working with our partners within Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership to ensure that any savings measures and service transformation is delivered in partnership with communities to continue to deliver safe, sustainable and efficient services.

“Challenges associated with improving waiting times have been recognised as part of the Board’s Operational Plan. We are working in partnership with Scottish Government to seek to improve our performance through accessing additional resources for waiting time improvements.

“In addition, a request made to the Scottish Government for an additional £4.5 million is aimed at enhancing staffing andimproving waiting times.

“Enhancing staffing within the emergency care centre will help us to meet the four-hour treatment standard.

“We will be working closely with our clinical teams to ensure we make the very best use of any additional investment which we receive.”