Health overspend slashed

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The forecast overspend for the year by health chiefs in Argyll and Bute has dipped below the £300,000 mark, a report has revealed.

The area’s health and social care partnership (HSCP) had predicted a £1.6million overspend after three months of the financial year, which began in April 2021.

That was quickly reduced to £800,000 after detailed analysis of social work budgets, and by the end of October had been lowered further to £681,000.

As of the end of November, the forecast overspend for the end of March 2022 stood at £281,000.

These are the most recent figures in a report that went before the HSCP’s integration joint board (IJB) at its virtual meeting on Wednesday January 26.

However, the document also acknowledges that responding to the Omicron Covid-19 variant ‘does present an additional risk’ to the partnership’s planned savings.

James Gow, the HSCP’s head of finance and transformation, said: ‘The forecast position has improved further and is now of reduced concern.

‘A year-end overspend of £280,000 is forecast against the budget of £307million.

‘The forecast overspend is of reduced concern, however, the prioritisation of the Omicron response does present an additional risk to the savings programme in the last quarter of the year.’

Mr Gow added: ‘There are services where overspending is continuing and there is slippage with the delivery of savings target.

‘However, recruitment of staff has become problematic in some services, this is resulting in increased vacancies, reductions in care packages and reduced spend.

‘There is now a high degree of confidence that the HSCP will operate within the resources available to it.’