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Friday, 21 December 2018

NHS Scotland chief confirms five health boards dropped below expected standards

Written by The Press Association

Over a third of health boards in Scotland need intervention after dropping below expected standards, MSPs have been told.

In a letter to the health committee at Holyrood, NHS Scotland chief executive Paul Gray (pictured) said five health boards have been escalated to “Stage 3 or above” on the NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework – meaning they need specific interventions.

The framework, graded on a scale of one to five, outlines the level at which a board is effectively operating.

Stage 1 means it is at a “steady state”, and is the level at which boards are expected to remain.

Stage 5 means a board is in the most serious stages of difficulty with “an organisational structure or configuration which is unable to deliver effective care”.

NHS Tayside is currently classified at Stage 5, with two boards, NHS Highland and NHS Borders, at Stage 4.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran and NHS Forth Valley are both at Stage 3.

Boards are allocated a Stage 3 classification due to “significant variation from plan; risks materialising; tailored support required”.

Stage 4 is defined as “significant risks to delivery, quality, financial performance or safety; senior level external support required”.

It requires a transformation team which reports directly to the director-general and chief executive of NHS Scotland.

The Scottish Conservatives accused the SNP of “woeful mismanagement” of the NHS in Scotland.

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: “Over a third of Scottish health boards are now regarded as being in significant trouble, deviating from their own plans and in need of support.

“This shows that five Scottish health boards are officially on the brink of financial crisis.

“After 11 years of the SNP mismanaging our health service we now have over a third of our health boards unable to operate properly or meet the needs of their communities.

“Indeed, SNP financial mismanagement of our Scottish NHS has seen SNP ministers forced to write off £150 million of NHS debt.

“Yet again the SNP has shown that it cannot continue to be trusted with our health service.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The handling of Scotland’s health boards is a scandal. This is an SOS from the NHS, but the crisis isn’t out of the blue.

“Ministers could have stopped this going so far if they had listened to health professionals’ concerns about under-staffing and strained resources.

“Reports are telling us the financial struggle boards are facing could affect the quality of care. Patient safety and the future of our NHS is at stake. The Health Secretary must get a grip of this now.”

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “This is a brutal assessment of the crisis facing our health service under the SNP.

“Earlier this year, Audit Scotland warned that the NHS was not financially sustainable and the impact of that. The Scottish Government’s complacency is becoming ever more apparent.

“Health Secretary Jeane Freeman needs to urgently get health boards into a secure financial footing so that hardworking NHS staff get the support they need and patients get the care they deserve.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Scottish Parliament / PA Wire.