Falkirk IJB warns finances ‘very high risk’

Friday 7th June 2019

Falkirk health and social care partnership is warning it faces a ‘very high risk’ financial position because of a delay in receiving proposals to balance the books from its partner NHS Forth Valley.

A report being considering at the governing Integration Joint Board’s meeting today says it’s currently ‘unclear’ how just under £3.5m of savings in health services are to be achieved.

Detailed savings options will only go before the IJB in September – halfway through the financial year – as they haven’t yet been provided by the NHS board.

Papers for the meeting warn of a ‘disconnect’ because the health board is deciding on cuts for services the IJB is responsible for.

Falkirk faces a total funding gap of more than £5m for the year ahead, an outlook common across much of Scotland.

This consists of a shortfall for health services of just under £3.5m and £1.7m for social care.

Health and social care partnerships across Scotland are funded jointly by the NHS and councils, and responsible for social care and a range of health services.

In Falkirk, NHS Forth Valley decides how and where money will be saved and then presents this to the IJB for approval.

While the report states this arrangement ‘does not reflect the responsibilities under the [integration] legislation’, it states this is because many health services in the area are still run by the NHS.

Yet while there are detailed plans to save cash in social care services by keeping older people in their own homes for longer and reviewing day services for older adults, the IJB has not yet seen a ‘robust list of savings’ that goes beyond headline figures.

Detailed cost-cutting options will be decided by the health board this month for the IJB to decide on in September.

In future, the report suggests the IJB needs to be able to make decisions about the planning and commissioning of services itself.