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Enormous challenge ahead for NHS

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By Fiona Reid
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Enormous challenge ahead for NHS

NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s new chief executive has described the ‘enormity’ of the financial challenge which lies ahead.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting of the NHS Board, Julie White welcomed a plan which includes 80 identified savings opportunities aimed towards saving £18.3 million in the new financial year – equating to five per cent of the Board’s entire annual operating budget.

These areas and their savings targets are:

Service optimisation (or productivity efficiency) – £1 million

Workforce optimisation – £2 million

Medicines optimisation – £4 million

Financial control and flexibility – £4.3 million

Service redesign – £7 million

However, it does not go far enough to meet the expectations set out by the Scottish Government and Mrs White explained they will not be able to sign it off.

That’s because it does not meet the brokerage cap, which is the maximum amount of money the government can lend to NHS Dumfries and Galloway to help manage its deficit.

Describing that situation as ‘unprecedented’, Mrs White noted that the plan currently identifies £13 million of savings – but this is still short of achieving the savings target of £18.3 million previously agreed by Board.

She said: “To reach that requires us to also identify the other £5 million or so of savings, which we haven’t already identified.”

“It’s really important to highlight to Board members the enormity of this challenge.”

Meanwhile, director of finance Katy Kerr said they would still have a £32.9 million deficit even if all the savings could be made

However, she noted that the Scottish Government supports the approach being taken.

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