NHS Borders reports financial progress

Health board says savings targets are on track, but there is still “significant work” to do

Friday 6th September 2019

NHS Borders has made progress towards balancing its books this year, officials have said.

A meeting of the health board heard £6m of savings had been identified by the end of July, which is in line with the amount required to break even in 2019/20.

The savings so far also represent almost half of the £12.7m target that the board is aiming to identify this year in order to start reducing its deficit.

In June, NHS Borders said it was aiming to return to a balanced budget as soon as possible after it needed a cash bailout from the Scottish Government for the first time in recent years.

Following the board meeting chief executive Ralph Roberts said there had been a “number of challenges” over the last 12 months which required the board to request a loan to meet immediate financial targets.

A statement said: “The Board is fully committed to addressing the financial situation we face and recognise we still have significant work to do.

“We continue to work extremely hard with our staff to progress our Financial Turnaround Programme to make the required savings whilst also providing high quality person-centred services to the Borders public.”

The board meeting also gave the go-ahead for a plan to reduce inpatient beds and increase community care facilities for dementia patients, as previously outlined by the health and social care partnership.

One six-bed bay in the department of medicine for the elderly in Borders General Hospital was closed in August, and a further six beds are expected to close in October.

The statement from Mr Roberts added: “As this work continues we would expect to continue to review the overall number of beds we require and increase the level of care provided in the community.

“In parallel with this we are progressing the development of our three-year financial plan with a draft plan due to be submitted to the Scottish Government in October.”