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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13216: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 December 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-12320 by Shona Robison on 20 November 2017, how it defines the "reasonable steps" that NHS boards should be taking to live within their means when they are trying to improve performance targets, and how it will ensure that its "balanced approach to performance" will allow boards to meet their key performance targets in light of reports that there is a lack of appropriate resources.

Answered by: Shona Robison 8 January 2018

Our balanced approach to performance is reflected in the Sustainability and Value Programme which supports NHS Boards to deliver their efficiency savings and oversees four workstreams across NHS Scotland: workforce, clinical transformation; effective prescribing and shared services. Work included in the programme may flow from a number of sources and can be drawn from any evidence but must meet a number of set criteria:

  • Outcomes are better;

  • Staff gain from the initiative by, for example, improved utilisation of skills and competencies;

  • It is proven to be more cost-effective at a local, regional or national level.

One example of a saving successfully delivered by NHS Boards under the Sustainability and Value Programme is the £8.4 million achieved in 2016-17 by switching to ‘once for Scotland’ procurement and prescribing for biologics.

As announced in the Draft Budget on 14 December, the Health and Sport resource budget will increase by over £400 million to £13.1 billion in 2018-19. We have prioritised investment in frontline services, and total additional funding for our frontline NHS Boards will amount to £354 million. These increases have only been made possible, without impacting on other public services, through the progressive tax policies set out in the Draft Budget.

Our estimate is that Conservative tax policies would have resulted in a reduction in the Scottish Government’s resource budget of £501 million in 2018-19.