At NHS Dumfries and Galloway public Board meeting on the 12th Of February 2024, NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s very stark financial situation was set out frankly, and in considerable detail.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive, Jeff Ace stated – Although this situation is not unique to Dumfries and Galloway, with most other health boards in Scotland facing a similar position, we have a responsibility to deliver a balanced financial budget so it is vitally important that we inform the public about the scale of the challenge that we face.
It is expected that our opening financial position in April 2024 will be a deficit of £35 million. Without any cost savings being made, this overspend could potentially rise to around £54 million at the end of March 2025 because of inflation, growing patient need and increasing costs involved in providing treatment and care. This is clearly unsustainable.
A robust financial savings plan is required to address this situation, which comes on top of several consecutive years of what have already been challenging times for NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway have agreed with Scottish Government that we are required to reduce the deficit to £25 million by the end of March 2025 which equates to achieving savings of £29 million within the coming financial year.
This will be a very difficult target to meet, representing about 8% per cent of NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s baseline budget.
Unfortunately, we have no option but to progress towards the achievement of these necessary savings, and it is important that we are open and honest with our population and our staff, and that they understand the scale of this challenge.
While we will do everything we can to mitigate the impact, we recognise that our services will feel different for our staff, patients and communities.
It is still too early to be able to describe the detail of how these savings will be achieved. The scale of the savings means that a very large amount of work is required to deliver the agreed target. These savings are likely to impact on our workforce, our infrastructure and our ways of delivering services.
However, the Board has committed to keep staff, public and partner agencies up to date with the progress towards this savings target, and there will be regular updates to Board throughout the year.
Organisationally, we will seek to continue our engagement with staff and communities about how we can best deliver services in the face of this unprecedented challenge.