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The body charged with looking after Argyll and Bute’s health and wellbeing must save more than £14 million in the next financial year.
Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) made the announcement following confirmation of the Scottish Government’s NHS budget and the Argyll and Bute Council budget.
Bleak as the situation appears, it looked significantly worse at the end of January, when £18.1m was the target savings figure – but after funding allocation by NHS Highland and the council, this has been reduced to £14.1m.
Caroline Whyte, HSCP chief financial officer, said that changes must be made to a number of services in order to achieve the savings.
She said: ‘Services are in the process of developing the service change proposals to be added to the plan to address the budget gap; however it is clear at this stage that some of those proposed service changes will not be in line with our strategic plan objectives.
‘These will potentially pose the Integrated Joint Board (IJB) very difficult decisions to make with conflicting priorities in relation to maintaining quality of care, meeting treatment and waiting time performance standards and ensuring a balanced budget.
‘Clearly need to increase the scale and pace of change to meet our objectives.’
The HSCP plans to save money by reducing the number of people admitted to hospital. To achieve this there will be more community nurses, physiotherapists and community healthcare workers to intercept health issues before they become serious.
New GP contracts will be implemented and the HSCP will work with the voluntary and independent sector.
Ms Whyte continued: ‘The pace of change will cause some anxiety and concerns for our staff and local communities but we will continue to do more to explain why we need to make these changes happen.
‘We will continue to seek views, comments and suggestions from the public, partners and our staff on the areas where we can change or redesign services and save money by doing things differently.’
The final financial position will be presented to the IJB at a meeting on Wednesday March 28, where the board will consider and approve service changes that are required for the 2018-19 budget.
Caroline Whyte, HSCP chief financial officer. no_a10CarolineWhyte01