Health and social care bosses urge public to help make difficult decisions

Judy Orr.

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Health and Social Care bosses are asking the public to help them make difficult budget decisions by having their say.

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership’s Head of Finance and Transformation Judy Orr has warned  resources available to the authority are declining in real terms year on year and it ‘cannot simply continue to provide the same services in the same ways’.

‘We have to find efficiencies and transform how we operate and we know there will be difficult choices with no easy options left for savings.  The HSCP would therefore really value the views from the public, staff, stakeholders and other partners to help us make the best decisions,’ she added.

The Integration Joint Board needs to set a balanced budget for 2020/21 at its next meeting on March 25 and by now it usually has an indication of the funding to be provided by Argyll and Bute Council and NHS Highland.

But due to the surprise resignation of former Chancellor Sajid Javid, the UK government budget could be delayed beyond the expected date of Match 11. The Scottish Government set its own budget on February 6.

This means there is still uncertainty about future levels of funding and it is expected  the proposed level of funding will not cover the level of increased costs which need to be borne by the HSCP.

The HSCP lists some of its main pressures as the cost of new drugs expected to outstrip funding made available, costs for GP out of hours services and demand growing for both older people and younger people services.

All significant service changes will have specific detailed community engagement plans to involve staff, patients, carers, partners and the wider community.  This will happen throughout this month, in parallel to an overall broad consultation about the HSCP’s budget priorities for 2020/21.

‘This current consultation is about the HSCP’s total budget plan and where we should look to find efficiencies.  These are very hard choices and there are no obvious areas where money can be saved easily.  It is important, however, that we involve the people of Argyll and Bute, who will be affected, by exploring every option for savings so they can express their priorities about where savings should be focused,’ said Ms Orr.

To take part in the budget consultation go to bit.ly/abhscpbudget or email us at nhs.abhscp@nhs.net