NHS Dumfries & Galloway is facing cuts of £13million (5% of the overall budget) in the next financial year, according to the latest Health Board Financial Report.
According to the Health Board, “this is substantially higher than ever previously achieved, following 4 years of sustained levels of efficiency savings removed from budgets.” The news comes despite the Scottish Governments insistence that health spending is to be protected.
The savings to be made are on top of ongoing efficiency savings of £7.96million which were agreed in the financial plan for 2015/16.
Last year, Jeff Ace, chief executive of NHS Dumfries & Galloway compared the local health service financial troubles to being in a “sinking canoe”.
NHS Dumfries & Galloway is currently facing an overspend of £489k for 2015/16.
In the same board meeting which took place on the 1st February 2016, board members were told that, in a survey of over 1,700 staff in NHS D&G, 47% said that "there are not enough staff for them to do their job properly."
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said:
“Our local NHS was facing a big enough squeeze as it was without also having these £13million of cuts thrust upon them. It shows that the Scottish Government’s promise to protect health spending in the shape of the Health and Social Care Fund is just smoke and mirrors. The cuts will not only impact patient services, but they will fall on the shoulders of our local NHS staff who are already being pushed to the absolute limit. Currently, nearly 50% of NHS staff in Dumfries & Galloway feel they do not have enough staff to do their jobs properly, so it beggars belief that even more resources are being stripped away.”
Scottish Labour candidate for Galloway and West Dumfries, Fiona O’Donnell added:
“Our local NHS staff across Dumfries & Galloway are rightfully proud of the work they do, but the fact is that they do not have the resources to do their jobs properly and are being severely let down by the Scottish Government. We were all promised that health spending would only increase over the course of the next year, but we’re actually seeing the complete opposite in this region. Local people deserve a health service with the ability to deliver care when they need it. That can’t be achieved to the high standards we’ve all come to expect with a 5% cut in an already stretched budget.”