Scottish audit reveals financial pressure on NHS

The NHS in Scotland is on course to deliver savings in 2010/11 but faces financial pressures 'unprecedented' since devolution, according to Audit Scotland's latest report.

Dr Keighley: There are areas where we need to examine ways of working and service delivery to ensure that they are delivered in the most cost effective manner

The report found in 2009/10, all NHS bodies in Scotland met their financial targets, creating an underspend of £43m, about 0.4% of its £10.9bn budget.

But Audit Scotland warns that with demand and costs continuing to rise and dwindling funding growth, much more significant savings will need to be found.

BMA Scotland warned that indiscriminate cuts to NHS services could cause ‘irreparable damage’ to the health service.

Dr Brian Keighley, Chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said health boards plans so far include ‘cutting nursing staff numbers, imposing a recruitment freeze and attempts to undermine the terms and conditions of NHS doctors.’

‘These may deliver a quick reduction in financial spending but they are not the long term solution. There are areas where there is a genuine need to examine ways of working and service delivery to ensure that they are delivered in the most cost effective manner – without affecting the quality of patient care,’ he said.

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