NHSFife: We’ll break even ...

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FINANCIAL challenges continue to lie ahead for NHS Fife’s operational division as it reported an overspend of £4.5m for the year to date.

Members of the health board’s operations divisional committee heard yesterday (Wednesday) the division looks set to end the financial year overspent, but NHS Fife as a whole, looks likely to break even.

Andrew McCreadie, assistant director of finance, explained the division has recorded a variance to the budget of £4.515m for nine months of the financial year.

A total of £129.3m has been spent in comparison to the budget of £124.8m.

Mr McCreadie said: “In the last few months, since mid-year we have seen an increase in the rate of overspend, but I’m pleased to say that in the month of December that rate has reduced.”

Pressures

In his report to the committee he told members the rate of overspend has increased within the division because of specific pressures on the system and due to costs for waiting list initiatives, funding for which is being reviewed.

Planned care and surgery is currently overspent by £3.2m with the key issues relating to “ongoing issues around agency staff”, while in emergency care issues relate to nursing and in some cases drugs expenditure.

Laboratory expenditure and endoscopy are the areas where the main overspends come in ambulatory care.

“The management team continue to work on identifying solutions to reduce the overspend, both in year and for future years,” he said.

In terms of efficiency savings, a programme of £2.51m was identified at the start of the financial year and the division is on target to meet these.

Efficiency

Mr McCreadie added: “We’re pleased to say at period nine, we’re broadly where we expected to be, in fact we’re slightly ahead of where we intended to be.

“What I would also say is in terms of NHS Fife, it expects to deliver its efficiency programme for this year.”

However, Mr McCreadie stressed that despite the operations division overspend, NHS Fife is expected to break even at the end of the financial year.

He said: “We’re not measured as a board on individual delivery units.

“The remainder of this financial year will continue to present further financial challenges for the division, however this will not prevent the delivery of a break-even out turn as required for NHS Fife as a whole.”