Scottish Government
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NHSScotland gets clean bill of health

NHSScotland has been given a clean bill of financial health in the latest report by Audit Scotland into its performance in 2007-08.

NHSScotland has cut its underlying deficit from £92 million to just £16 million in 2007-08 with the deficit set to fall to just £3 million in the current year.

Key findings from Audit Scotland's Financial Overview of the NHS in Scotland 2007-08 report, published today, include:

  • NHS boards and agencies cut their underlying deficit to 16 million pounds in 2007-08, from £92 million the previous year. The report says this progress is expected to continue in 2008-09, when the underlying deficit will further reduce to just £3 million.
  • Financial management was good, with just a 0.24 per cent underspend on NHSScotland's £10 billion budget
  • Capital expenditure is set to grow from £430 million in 2007-08 to nearly £600 million in 2010-11 (compared to just over £130 million in 2003-4).
  • Scotland continues to spend more per head of population on health than other UK countries
  • NHS Scotland made efficiency savings over the three years from 2005-06 to 2007-08 of around £610 million - beating its own target by around £80 million
  • All NHS boards have predicted they will break even in 2008-09, except Western Isles where the situation is nonetheless improving
  • Sickness absence rates are falling, but remain above the 4 per cent target

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the report showed NHS health boards across Scotland were operating within their budgets and giving the public 'excellent value for money'.

Ms Sturgeon said:

"We are investing more than ever before in our NHS - including £1.5 billion of new money over the next three years - so that Scots continue to enjoy the highest per capita health spending in the UK.

"These latest figures from Audit Scotland show that NHS Scotland is rising to the challenge of ensuring it operates within its budget so that the public gets the best possible value for money. It's extremely encouraging that NHSScotland has achieved its financial targets.

"I expect this improvement to continue in the future and this will be aided by the two per cent annual efficiency savings I have asked all NHS boards to make, as they consider even more carefully where savings can be made to reinvest in frontline NHS services.

"As highlighted in the Chief Executive of NHSScotland's annual report last week, NHSScotland made significant progress in 2007-08, with the early achievement of a number of key targets to improve access to healthcare services, to enhance the quality of services for patients and to support improved health."

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