NHS Forth Valley Health Board overspend reported

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NHS Forth Valley had an overspend of nearly £1 million in the first quarter of the year, members of the health board were told at a recent meeting.

Director of Finance, Scott Urquhart, reported the revenue overspend of £860,000 for the three-month period to June 30, 2019 at the monthly board meeting. He said the biggest overspend was in clinical services, especially acute services which currently has an overspend of just over £2 million, although this is balanced by other departments.

NHS Forth Valley’s budget from the Scottish Government this year is £662.563m.

The finance director also told board members they had identified £16.4m of the £19.2m savings NHS Forth Valley has been asked to make in this year ahead.

He reported that significant savings were being made where possible by recruiting permanent staff rather than paying for agency staff. Two new consultant physician posts have been approved which will provide a net saving of £300,000.

There is also a recruitment drive for other specialities which are proving hard to fill, such as old age psychiatry.

Medical director Andrew Murray said they were looking at international recruitment and working hard to make Forth Valley known as a “place of employment of choice”.

Board member Julie Swan said: “I’m pleased to hear about this recruitment. It doesn’t just save money, it’s also a huge benefit to patients because it gives stability.”

Mr Urquhart and chief executive Cathie Cowan said this year will be challenging but they were introducing a new way of working, using project management methods, which would offer a longer term look at savings to be made. Ms Cowan said that their external and internal auditors had been very supportive of the PMO approach. Adding: “It is challenging but we are up for the challenge.”

Mr Urquhart also said that the capital budget was balanced and that financially they were currently in a similar position to this time last year which was reassuring.