NHS Fife bosses say jobs will be protected despite demands on the region’s health service to find savings of more than £30m.
Staff and unions fear jobs could be hit and bed numbers cut as the stark reality of what has been described as an unprecedented financial challenge, hits home.
A major rethink of service provision is now being planned as NHS Fife sets about finding the necessary cuts - equivalent to five per cent of its annual £604m budget.
“In common with the other health boards across Scotland, NHS Fife must deliver significant savings over the coming years, with £30.8m of efficiencies required in 2016/17,” a spokesman for the NHS Fife told the Press.
“Although in its early stages, work is taking place to identify areas where savings can be made whilst maintaining high standards of care, and we will be working in close partnership with staff to develop this work into a more detailed plan.”
However the cuts would not mean a threat to jobs NHS Fife stressed.
“Although it is likely the savings required will necessitate new ways of working and new models of care, it is important to stress NHS Fife will ensure the employment of staff is protected throughout,” said the spokesman.
“The scale of this financial challenge is considerable; however we remain committed to delivering solutions that are right for our patients and right for our staff.”
Consideration is now being given to changes in minor injuries services as part of an ongoing national review of the out of hours provision, while a review of current diabetes services, hospital security, catering and laundry provision are also to be scrutinised. And while £19.2m of savings have been earmarked, there are fears that the remaining £11.4m are just not sustainable.
“We’ve yet to have any dialogue with NHS Fife over job security and can’t see how such savage cuts won’t impact on jobs, be it NHS, those in the not-for-profit sector or independent employers who are closely associated with the NHS,“ said John Gillespie, chairman of the Fife activist committee of the Unite union. “The cuts will have a huge negative impact on health and social care for everyone in the Fife.”