Borders IJB facing ‘significant’ budget hole

Tuesday 18th June 2019

The body responsible for community health services and social care in the Scottish Borders is warning it will have to rely on cash bailouts to plug a significant funding gap.

Borders health & social care partnership plans to request additional funding from its partner NHS Borders, but the health board is also struggling to balance the books and would have to borrow from the Scottish Government to make any further contributions.

A report to be considered by the health and social care partnership’s governing Integration Joint Board (IJB) tomorrow identifies a £13m shortfall for this financial year.

This is described as a ‘significant savings challenge’ as it represents 7.6% of the partnership’s overall budget.

Despite bringing in a turnaround team to help find savings, just £3m have been identified to date, leaving the remainder to be filled with contributions from Borders health board.

In a statement earlier this month, NHS Borders said it would be receiving “further support from the Scottish Government over the next few years” while it got to grips with rising costs.

Last year, it received £10m in government brokerage.

Discussions with the Scottish Government for a cash loan in this year are said to be at an “advanced stage”.

But a HSCP finance report warns of a ‘risk that the full requirement cannot be met through negotiations with them.’

Additionally, they identify a danger that more borrowing could lead to ‘further pressure on services to cut costs.’