NHS Tayside challenges ‘remain significant’

‘Lessons need to be learned’ from NHS Tayside governance failings, according to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee

Wednesday 29th May 2019

The performance of NHS Tayside and of other health boards in Scotland needs to be ‘significantly improved’ in order to restore public confidence, a group of MSPs has said.

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit & Post-Legislative Scrutiny (PAPLS) Committee published a report today consolidating its findings after 18 months of scrutiny of financial and governance issues that have engulfed the health board in recent years.

An assurance & advisory group was commissioned in March 2017 to work with NHS Tayside following concerns over the board’s performance and financial position.

A report from Audit Scotland followed in December 2018 that stated ‘urgent action’ was ‘needed to address NHS Tayside's financial position amid ongoing changes to the make-up of its leadership team’.

Jenny Marra, Labour MSP and convener of the PAPLS Committee, said: “Whilst the past can’t be changed, the Scottish Government must learn lessons to ensure that these kinds of issues don’t emerge again.

Challenges at NHS Tayside remain and NHS leaders should work to meet all of the 20 national targets. If local leaders work to improve services and get their finances under control, the public’s confidence will increase.”

As of December 2018, NHS Tayside has needed £50.2m of Scottish Government loans since 2012-13.

A further £12.7m was received in 2017-18, and the Auditor General advised that more will continue to be required by the health board as it struggles to reach a balanced financial position.

The mismanagement of eHealth and endowment fund monies in previous years has compounded NHS Tayside’s poor financial position and the report states: ‘It is critical that NHS Tayside strengthens governance arrangements in order that there is regular and robust scrutiny of the board’s finances.

The challenges facing NHS Tayside and the associated level of risk remain significant and will require a high level of support from the Scottish Government.’