£10m savings is aim to meet NHS Fife targets

KIRKCALDY;'New Victoria Hospital; 'photo; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'New Victoria Hospital; 'photo; WALTER NEILSON

ALMOST £10 million in savings have to be made by NHS Fife – on an already reduced budget.

And a huge range of efficiency measures have been identified to ensure it meets its targets and does not incur any additional penalties for overspending.

These include not filling some staff vacancies; dispensing with locum doctors and bank nursing staff; reviewing staff rotas; reducing office and IT costs; looking for better deals on equipment and reviewing maintenance priorities.

And among one of the reviews being proposed is stopping the home birthing service to Fife women, a move which could save the operational division £33,000 a year.

The difficult financial situation was outlined to members at the health board’s Operational Division Committee this week by Andrew McCreadie NHS Fife’s assistant director of finance.

The total cost of the savings which have to be made by the health board amounts to £5.4 million for the year, with a further £3.5 million to be made up for overspending in last year’s budget.

Figures for the first two months of the financial year showed an overspend of £604,000 against a total available budget of £226,660,000, with the majority of the costs going on staff.

Mr McCreadie said that two plans had been drawn up – one to deal with the issues of the overspend from last year and another identifying efficiency savings for the coming year. The total amount of savings identified amounted to £9.7 million, while the total projected overspend was around £8.5 million.

He added: “There is always an element of risk when we are trying to predict the future, and we are trying to accommodate that by building in additional schemes to reduce expenditure.”

John Wilson, chief executive of NHS Fife said: “The total comes to more than we need to save, but we need to recognise that not everything on the plan will happen, or happen as it has been suggested. Some plans may start this year working towards savings next year, while others won’t happen at all.”

He said regular updates were held between the NHS Fife directorates about progress on savings, and this would continue.