CHIEF Operating Officer Jane Davidson claims that any savings NHS Borders has to make will not jeapordise patient safety after Berwickshire MSP John Lamont voiced concerns about a report which revealed that the health board need to make ‘high risk’ cuts in the next financial year.
A report published by Audit Scotland has revealed that 28 per cent of the savings that NHS Borders are required to make by the end of next year are considered ‘high risk’.
The investigation into the financial performance of the NHS in Scotland shows that NHS Borders will need to make £5.9million worth of savings in the next financial year, after saving £7,098 million in 2011/12, 83 per cent of its target.
In contrast to NHS Borders, 11 per cent of neighbouring NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s savings are categorised as high risk and 62 per cent of NHS Lothian’s, the highest result in Scotland.
The publishing of the report comes after Government cuts to the NHS budget which has seen more than 2000 nurses axed in Scotland over the last couple of years.
John Lamont said: “This is a very worrying report and many people living in the Borders will rightly be concerned.
“We have already lost more than 2,000 nurses in the last couple of years and these latest cuts look like they will have an even deeper impact on the service offered by our NHS.
“It is ludicrous that as many as 28 per cent of the savings NHS Borders are making next year are deemed as high risk. If they are deemed to be so risky then surely the sensible thing to do is to ensure that they don’t go ahead. We cannot afford to see a service that is relied on by so many people fall away thanks to unnecessary risks.
“This is simply too big a risk to take for NHS Borders and we need to see these cuts stopped before patient care suffers further.”
But offering reassurance, a spokesperson for NHS Borders said that the ‘risk’ referred to in the report was financial, rather than clinical and related to the certainty with which plans may be delivered.
Jane Davidson, the health board’s chief operating officer, commented: “Patient safety is our number one priority. We are committed to ensuring the people of the Borders can rely on safe, efficient and effective healthcare that is centred on the needs of the patient.”
“The Audit Scotland Report is about the financial performance of the whole of the NHS in Scotland in 2011/12. It also refers to the efficiency plans that boards have for 2012/13, and the certainty with which these plans can be delivered financially. NHS Borders efficiency plans are developed with due consideration of patient safety and the effectiveness and quality of our clinical services. “Our efficiency plans have seen the majority of savings being realised and NHS Borders is on track to fully achieve its financial targets in 2012/13.