East Ayrshire health & care finances on track

‘Significant improvement’ in East Ayrshire finances but audit issues warning over lack of financial sustainability

Tuesday 20th August 2019

There has been a ‘significant improvement’ in East Ayrshire Integration Joint Board’s (IJB) finances in 2018-19, according to a report by auditors.

Recently made available by Audit Scotland, the IJB’s annual audit plan and interim audit report for 2018-19 detail how maintaining a balanced budget will depend on achieving considerable savings.

Assessing the IJB on financial sustainability, financial management, governance and transparency, and value for money, auditors state the East Ayrshire board ‘is faced with an extremely challenging financial position as the current level of service provision is not financially sustainable.’

One of the ways the IJB hopes to counter this situation is through a review and pilot of a new approach to set-aside resources.

As part of the national review of progress of integration of health and social care, NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the three IJBs operating within the region are acting as a test area, with the hope a pan-Ayrshire approach will save money.

As is the case for all of Scotland’s health and care services, financial pressures are mounting due to restrictions on public sector funding and increasing demand for services, which ‘presents a risk to early intervention and preventative services’.

When assessed on whether services delivered also provided value for money – by being efficient, effective and sustainable – a decline in performance is noted from March to November 2018.

However, the latest report delivered to the IJB’s audit committee highlighted ‘significant progress’ had been made in improving services with 75% of the actions detailed in the board’s most recent service improvement plan progressing as expected.