South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has expressed his fears for the future of crucial health and social care services after it was revealed that SNP Scottish Government cuts have left the Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care partnership with a £19.5 Million funding gap.

The funding gap that was confirmed in a report to a meeting of the Dumfries and Galloway Integrated Joint Board (IJB) on Wednesday 3rd April showed that for Financial Year 2019/20 the IJB has a funding gap of £19.504 Million.

The scale of the funding challenge facing the partnership as a result of cuts to health and local authority budgets from the SNP Scottish Government, meant £9.5 million worth of unachieved savings being carried forward from the previous Financial Year.

The Report to the Integration Joint Board states that in order to cope with the demand on health and social care services and to implement cuts, “efficiencies” will need to be found in services but Colin Smyth fears that the scale of the cuts will inevitably impact on services.

Colin Smyth said, “With an ageing population in Dumfries and Galloway social care services are witnessing an increase in demand to enable more people live at home for longer but it’s clear that funding from the Scottish Government is not enough to meet this demand . That means health and social care services face massive cuts. You cannot achieve savings of that scale without affecting care. We have already seen the impact of cuts with the growing problem of delayed discharge in the local NHS where older people are being kept in hospital longer because there isn’t the care packages in place for them to leave hospital as soon as they are fit to do so. Unless the Government stops to cuts to councils and the NHS , these cuts will continue and the problem of delayed discharge will continue to grow”.

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