South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has accused the Scottish Government of putting patient care at risk due to a failure to properly fund the NHS, after a new report revealed that NHS Dumfries and Galloway faces having to make over £17 million of cuts during the next financial year to balance the books.
The report to this week’s meeting (9 April) of 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 target 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 increased cost of the New Medicines Fund which costs £2.5m over and above the funding given to the health board, the delivery of meeting waiting time targets, the increased cost of external contract agreements with NHS Scotland Boards and North of England service agreements, risks associated with the radiology service due to vacancies and also the impact of winter pressures. It comes at a time the local NHS are projecting a £228,000 overspend for this year and have asked.
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. NHS Dumfries and Galloway's annual operational plan contains the request for extra Scottish government funding. Most of the request- £3.56m would be used to bring in-patient, day case and out-patient performance back on target with £1m needed meet Accidental and Emergency targets which the local NHS consistently fails to meet.
The latest figures published today (10 April) by the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division (ISD) showed that 89.2% of patients were treated in Accident and Emergency in 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 8 hours, with 2 waiting over 12 hours in Accident and Emergency. So far the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary has failed to meet the Accident and Emergency target since it opened.
Commenting on the report South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “This report lays bare the huge pressures the local NHS faces as a result of a lack of funding from the SNP Government. The fact that the Health Board have had to agree a budget for the year ahead without knowing how they will find over £6m of the their £17m cuts target is deeply worrying. There is no way that the NHS can make savings of that scale without impacting on patient care and the responsibility for that lies squarely on the Scottish Government. It’s time they were honest with the public and admitted that demand for health services far outweighs the resources the Government are providing. We need to see the Scottish Government use the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to boost investment in our NHS and give our overworked NHS staff the resources they badly need”.
The report showing the Annual Operational Plan for 2018/19 can be seen at Agenda Item 140
A&E Waiting Times can be found here: