NHS Dumfries and Galloway is a long way off transforming its failing healthcare service, the region’s top health chief admitted this week.
The health service performance is failing to deliver a proper level of care, recruit enough staff, and clear its black hole financial deficit.
And Jeff Ace, chief executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, doesn’t believe the situation is going to change any time soon.
Speaking at the health board’s bi-monthly meeting on Monday, Mr Ace said: “If you measure boards by patient safety and by access etc, we’ll be among the top performing boards not just in Scotland, but in the UK, at the moment.
“But that masks how far we are away from a sustainable high-performing model.
“Our performance is not reaching our historic levels, either in non-elective care or in elective care.
“We are several millions away from being in recurrent break even – and that’s a position that’s not going to improve.
“So, we have a model that’s not performing to its historic levels. We have a model that we can’t afford at the moment, and we also have a model that we can’t recruit to.
“None of these is going to rapidly change. Indeed, some of the parameters get significantly worse as we look forward to the pressures that are going to come to us.
“We are, to all intents and purposes, running an unsustainable service model that is already failing to meet the standards that we’ve previously set.”
At Monday’s health board meeting, Mr Ace presented a draft plan of tactical priorities for the health board for 2023/24.
Thirteen priorities were listed including the delivery of the integrated workforce plan to increase the capacity, capability and resilience of the health and social care workforce.
Focus will also be placed on a financial recovery plan, tackling health inequalities, prevention and early intervention, creating a sustainable model of community health and social care for the next one-five years, addressing the significant problems in the delivery of dental services, along with safe effective maternity services in west of region.
Mr Ace said: “What we’ve set out here is both a statement of our strategy as to how we, over a longer period, become a sustainable, high-performing system.
“And then also, what is that going to look like this year? What are the immediate changes and pieces of work that board members can hold us to account for that take us on that journey to sustainability?”
The draft plan of tactical priorities was approved by other health board members and will now be published as a roadmap for service change for the rest of the year.