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 NHS Tayside budget : "High risk" that reductions cannot not be found

17 November 2008

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NHS Tayside have admitted that there is a "high risk" that they will be unable to meet the 35 million reductions in budgets that the Scottish Government has told them to find.

Freedom of Information documents seen by Marlyn Glen indicate the health board concede in their Strategic Financial Plan 2009- 2013 that "accumulative savings become increasingly challenging to deliver" to meet "cost reduction targets"

Other "high risk" categories where savings may be difficult to achieve include the cost of medicines.

"Medicines cost increases may be greater than planned, " the report says.

" Discussion is continuing around a number of initiatives that will deliver 2% efficiency saving. The price volatility around generic drugs remains the major concern in 2008/09.

Another is pay award settlements which may be " higher than anticipated"

" The outcome of this risk will be determined by national negotiations, but it should be noted that the NHS Tayside provision for pay awards and Agenda for Change is higher than the average uplift( increase) for Scottish Boards."

In a letter to Ms. Glen, Gerry Marr, Chief Operating officer for NHS Tayside, listed the areas where reductions were being sought.

These were :

procurement savings in drugs and supplies,

efficiency from the redesign of services, remodelling day surgery and theatre sessions,

review of home care services,

reductions in overtime and reduced use of agency staff,

reduced sickness absence,

rates rebates,

supplemented by a range of non-recurring opportunities arising in year.

Mr. Marr told Ms. Glen that in 2007-08 NHS Tayside incurred a total spend on drugs of 100 million, 17 million of which was spent on generic drugs prescribed by GPs.

Ms. Glen said,

"NHS Tayside has been placed under very difficult financial pressures by demands for 35 million in savings.

"Health boards such as NHS Tayside have been given an annual funding allocation which, taking general inflation into account, means a less than 1 per cent real increase in their budget.

" The rate of inflation in the health service goods and services exceeds general inflation, and so NHS Tayside has been left grappling with the tough consequences of the lowest increase in health funding in years."



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