Local NHS needs a £13m loan

NHS Borders, Newstead
NHS Borders, Newstead

NHS Borders is one of four NHS boards in Scotland that is going to need a Scottish Government loan to balance its budget this year.

The health authority will need £13.2m to balance the books and Conservative polticians have wasted no time in blaming the Scottish Government for providing NHS Borders with inadequate funding.

Between them NHS Tayside, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Highland and NHS Borders will need £70.9m of loans and will take two to three years to return to a financial balance.

A spokesperson for NHS Borders said: “Until this year, our finances have been managed within budget.

“It has become more challenging over time and more difficult to find sufficient efficiencies or savings to cover the level of inflation and cost pressures that we have to meet.

“Our 2018/19 financial plan now outlines £13.3m of savings to be delivered, however there is still a substantial gap of £11.5m and we continue to work hard to reduce this deficit further.”

John Lamont MP said: “The Scottish Government have repeatedly claimed that everything is fine at NHS Borders and they are getting the funding they need.

“These figures, which were quietly released on the Scottish Parliament’s first day of summer recess, confirm the opposite to be true.

“The fact that NHS Borders has had to go to the Government, cap in hand, to ask for £13m just to run day-to-day services, is a scandal.

“Our NHS is 70 years old this week. It is time for the SNP to give our health boards a birthday present and give staff at NHS Borders the support they need to do their jobs.”

Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “It’s clear that the Scottish Government have not understood the needs of a rural health board like NHS Borders.”