NHS Highland ‘complacent’ over finances say MSPs
Health board criticised after financial audit
A health board has been criticised over the handling of its finances in a report by Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee.
NHS Highland had to ask the government for additional £2.5m funding after “poor leadership and complacency”, the report said, with the board’s largest hospital, Raigmore in Inverness, overspending year on year.
The report - ‘NHS Highland 2013-14: Financial Management’ – follows evidence gathered from the Auditor General for Scotland the Scottish Government and NHS Highland - who provided evidence on two separate occasions.
NHS Highland told the committee the additional funding had been needed to avoid cuts to services and cancelled operations.
Committee Convener Paul Martin MSP said the government loan had been the first of its kind for 11 years, and therefore the committee had expected to find “a robust and transparent system” of checks and balances.
“Instead the evidence from NHS Highland about when brokerage was agreed to and by whom was unclear and contradictory to an extent that we question how well-informed the Board were and when they decided to seek brokerage,” he said.
The continuous overspend at Raigmore had led to compensatory underspends at other locations, the report warned.
NHS Highland said it had fully cooperated with the committee and had taken steps to improve its financial management.
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