NHS Lothian funding allocation

 

Following the passing of the budget this month, the Scottish Government has announced how much funding health boards will receive. 

Unfortunately, the announcement confirms that NHS Lothian will continue to receive less than its fair share.

Under the formula used to allocate NHS funding to different areas (NRAC), NHS boards should receive a set proportion of funding based primarily on population. 

NHS Lothian receives less money that the NRAC formula predicts and, in the current financial year, remains over £50m from parity.

This is money that could be put to good use, addressing the management, personnel and maintenance concerns that are stretching NHS Lothian resources.

The systemic under-funding of NHS Lothian lies at the heart of the problems the board has faced.

I raised this issue with the Cabinet Secretary this month during Health Questions. You can view my question at 11mins 10secs in the above video.

In his response, the Cabinet Secretary told me what the Scottish Government has been doing, but the evidence shows it is not enough.

Despite additional funding from the Scottish Government to gradually move towards parity, progress has been painfully slow.

This is primarily due to the fact that the population of the Lothians is expanding faster than anywhere else in the country and the funding is struggling to keep pace. 

From the initial figures published by the Scottish Government this month, it looks as if the gap will remain somewhere in the region of £50m.

Additional funding this year has immediately been eroded as the health board begins to pay back the £10m loan in received from the Scottish Government to help address waiting times issues.  The same will happen next year further delaying progress towards funding parity.

All of this will have an inevitable impact on patient care from longer waiting lists, reduced staff numbers and ageing facilities.

I will continue to raise the issue in the Scottish Parliament to highlight the immense resource pressures at NHS Lothian and to call on the Scottish Government to recognise the need for a fair funding settlement to address them.