Cabinet Secretary for Public Health and Sport Jeane Freeman MSP has confirmed that NHS Boards in Scotland will receive a “new deal” to give them more flexibility to continue delivering quality care.
In order to allow more funds to be spent on patient care, the SNP Government will not seek to recoup brokerage paid to territorial boards in the last five years.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Ms Freeman announced that NHS territorial boards will now be required to set out finance and improvement plans that break even over a three-year period. Currently, plans are assessed over one year.
If this condition is met, boards will be offered the flexibility to underspend or overspend by up to 1% of their budget in any one year.
Ms Freeman made this announcement while outlining a new medium term financial framework for Scotland’s health and social care. The document sets out the twin approach of investment and reform to meet the increasing demands expected on Scotland’s health and care system.
Ms Freeman said:
“For this new deal to be successful I believe it needs a new start. So to give all our territorial boards clear ground to move forward on that three-year planning cycle, I will not seek to recover NHS territorial boards’ outstanding brokerage; the expenditure incurred by Territorial Boards over the last five years which has been above their budget.
“I want all boards to be able to focus their attention on delivering the measures set out in the Health and Social Care Delivery Plan and this Financial Framework, and to do so in a safe and appropriate way, making sure they maintain a strong focus on patient care and the delivery of the services to patients that is safe, effective, person centred – and timely.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“In 2017/18, NHS Ayrshire and Arran received £23 million in brokerage from the SNP Government, to help it achieve an in-year financial balance in the face of challenges such as keeping hospital beds open to manage demand that was not budgeted for. This debt – and that garnered in the preceding four years – will be written off to give the Board a clean slate for better, demand-responsive financial planning as it moves forward.
“All NHS boards are required to demonstrate, in both publicly available reports and through regular contact with Government officials, that they are managing their budgets prudently and delivering value for money. The SNP Government will continue to engage with NHS Ayrshire and Arran and other boards to ensure that public funds are used to dispense the high quality health and social care that patients expect.”