NHS Borders’ weak evidence to parliament

John Raine, chairman of NHS Borders.
John Raine, chairman of NHS Borders.

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has written to NHS Borders expressing concern ‘at the weakness of evidence given in relation to strategic thinking and planning’.

The letter follows evidence given to the parliamentary committee by NHS Borders last month.

Committee convener Lewis Macdonald has asked for more information from the health board on a number of issues raised during the evidence session.

Writing to out-going NHS Borders board chairman John Raine, Mr Macdonald said: “Overall the committee were concerned at the weakness of evidence given in relation to strategic thinking and planning. You appear to anticipate brokerage for an indeterminate number of years into the future. Please address these issues in your response.

“Would the committee be correct in its understanding that the confidence you expressed in reaching financial parity is entirely dependent on additional financial settlements being made available?

“Can you advise if the Scottish Government have agreed (in principle) to provide brokerage to the board in future years, if so at what level, and what conditions are you anticipating?”

Mr McDonald continues: “The committee is interested in the extent to which additional resources have been directed towards meeting waiting times. Could you confirm what impact any redirection of resources onto waiting times targets has had on shifting the balance of care.

“While you may be unable to comment at this stage in your ‘special measures’, the committee are interested to understand to what extent you envisage changes in the way the budget will be managed to achieve financial sustainability will impact on performance.”

Further clarification is sought on: projected prescribing costs; how the board is engaging with staff; the Scottish Borders Integrated Joint Board overspend; the effectiveness of the board’s efficiency programme; delayed discharge figures; and monitoring of GP practices.