CHALLENGING financial times lie ahead for NHS Fife once again as the organisation strives to meet this year’s targets.
Members of the health board’s operations division heard last week that after the first two months of the financial year the division had an overspend of £281,000 against their budget of £40.4 million
However, although compared to the same time last year it is an improvement, officials urged caution as the end of the year and the targets to be met are still a long way off.
Andrew McCreadie, assistant director of finance, told the committee that last year at the same time the division had an overspend of just over £604,000.
He said: “There is an overspend of £281,000 after two months of the year, and this overspend is significant within the clinical directorates.
“So in relative terms things have improved, but in absolute terms things are still challenging and we’ve a long way to go.
“It’s very early in the year so can’t give year end forecasts.
“There’s still an amount of volatility in the numbers and will take a number of months for it to settle down.”
The largest overspend for the period was within emergency care and medicine, which was £398,000.
Mr McCreadie continued: “The efficiency projections are obviously an issue for all of NHS Fife, not just the operations division.
“The indicative target set at the start of the year was £7m.
“This is a figure we need to work towards.”
Efficiency savings to the value of £2.9m have been identified for the period to date, but services within the division are expected to find more as the year progresses.
Mr McCreadie said: “We’re still looking for more savings between now and the end of the year.
“The absolute minimum of savings is £2.9m.
“The £7m is a long way off and a significant challenge for this year.
“We need to be somewhere beyond £2.9m, if not beyond the £7m.”
Dave Stewart, chairman of the operations division, told the committee: “It appears we’re doing very much better, but I think it needs everyone to keep things very tight to make sure we come out at the end of the year in a very good position.
“If everyone keeps a very firm hand on things, I’m hopeful we’ll meet the target and the board will see us in a better light financially than we’ve been.”
However, George Cunningham, acting director of acute services, warned the next financial report presented to the committee may not show the figures in such a good light due to a change in the services covered by the division.