Health board dispute raises cause for concern

Argyll and Bute HSCP head of finance and transformation Judy Orr

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The projected overspend by Argyll and Bute’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has fallen by nearly £700,000 – but a spectre potentially worth millions still looms.

A report has revealed that the HSCP is forecasting an overspend of £1.31 million by the end of the 2019/20 financial year.

The figure, accurate as of the end of December, is in contrast to the £1.99 million it was forecasting at its previous meeting in November when it reported figures as of September 30.

However, the report also warns that a dispute with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde over a service level agreement (SLA) is continuing.

The two parties cannot agree a sum for the purchase of services from the Greater Glasgow board, and the document states that they are approximately £1.5 million apart in their valuations of the agreement.

Should no sum be agreed, it could potentially cost the HSCP millions more.

The HSCP’s integration joint board (IJB) was due to discuss the financial situation at its meeting yesterday (Wednesday January 29).

Head of finance and transformation Judy Orr said: ‘This [the forecast overspend] consists of an overspend of £1.310 million within social work delivered services and a break even position within health.

‘This has improved by £366,000 in the month – £66,000 for social work and £300,000 for health.

‘The improvement in health is largely related to new medicines funding where additional funding was notified of £660,000, which was more than expected, partially offset by additional drug costs which relate, and a staff settlement payment.

‘It should be noted that the dispute with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde continues.

‘The gap between the payment being sought and what we have offered is around £1.5 million and this is not reflected in the forecast outturn position or year to date expenditure reported.’

Ms Orr then said: ‘We continue to have an outstanding dispute with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde regarding the value of the SLA for hospital services provided by them.

‘We have offered payment of £55.085 million and they are seeking payment of £56.142 million.

‘However, this gap of £1.057 million has now grown by £477,000 as further work has shown that our offer included services provided by WestMARC (West of Scotland Mobility and Rehabilitation Service) and theirs excluded this.

‘There is therefore a disputed sum of £1.534 million which is outwith our reported position and is also excluded from our forecast outturn position.

‘The additional cost pressures for the NHS GGC services, outwith the main SLA, are mainly for cystic fibrosis drug costs, and are largely accounted for within the forecast outturn position and covered by new medicines funding announced for this year and next year.’

The report also says that the HSCP’s year to date overspend has increased slightly, by £54,000, since its November meeting.

It also says that nearly 60 per cent of planned savings have been delivered by the HSCP during the 2019/20 financial year.

Ms Orr added: ‘The strategic leadership team continues to meet on a regular basis to gain grip and control of the financial position.

‘It is hoped the financial position will improve over the remaining months of this financial year.’