NHS boards warn they will require more in emergency loans than last year
Funding gap revealed as four regional health boards expect to ask for £70.9m in emergency loans from the Scottish Government
Hospital - PA
Four health boards have indicated they will require £70.9m in brokerage loans from the Scottish Government in the current financial year.
The figures come as the Scottish Government begins to publish the financial performance of all health boards in Scotland on a monthly basis.
The publication was promised by former health secretary Shona Robison in May after she had been forced to intervene over financial irregularities at NHS Tayside.
The health board is one of four that anticipate requiring brokerage loans, predicting it will need £18.7m to break even.
The others requiring emergency loans are NHS Ayrshire and Arran, which needs £20m, NHS Highland, which needs £19m and NHS Borders, which expects to ask for £13.2m.
The total of £70.9m will be higher than the £50.7m required in brokerage loans in 2017/18.
The total funding gap predicted by health boards this year could be close to £131m.
New health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Scotland’s health service is receiving record funding that is providing historically high numbers of doctors, nurses and dentists, plus a proposed pay deal for the majority of staff that is the highest in the UK.
“There is rising demand on our NHS, with increased expectations and an aging population, so it is crucial we have a transparent and open approach to finances.
“I expect all health boards to continue to develop their plans and work towards delivering a balanced financial position over the course of the remaining financial year, while ensuring they provide safe and effective care and deliver best value for money.”
Labour’s shadow health secretary Anas Sarwar said: “This report confirms what SNP ministers are desperately trying to hide – Scotland’s NHS is underfunded, staff are undervalued and the health service desperately needs to be under new management.”
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