NHS underspends by £26m in Scotland

The NHS in Scotland underspent by £26m in 2007/8, according to a report by Audit Scotland.

The underspend was on a £10.1bn budget and this is the third consecutive year that not all funds have been spent.

However, Audit Scotland warns today that the coming years will be challenging because NHS bodies will receive smaller funding increases over the next 3 years than in recent years.

Robert Black, the Auditor General for Scotland, said: ‘The financial performance of the NHS was good during 2007/8. The service continues its steady improvement in this area over the past few years. This is the third year in a row that the NHS has ended the year with a small underspend.’

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: ‘Amid future increasing financial pressures, it is essential that care is not compromised as boards struggle to meet increasingly demanding targets.

‘Costly experiments such as the introduction of directly-elected members to health boards will drain much-needed resources away from NHS board budgets which, in our view, would be far better spent on patient care.’

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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