The Health and Sport Committee has today published a report into the scrutiny of the budgets of NHS Boards.
To inform their scrutiny, the Committee surveyed every health board in Scotland to get a picture of NHS budgets across Scotland.
The Committee welcomed the constructive way in which NHS boards and the Scottish Government Health Directorate have engaged with the Committee.
The Committee recognises the balance that must be struck between making necessary savings and efficiencies, allowing flexibility for boards to meet local needs, and ensuring quality and consistency of NHS services across Scotland.
The measure and quality of outcomes (rather than outputs or inputs) is absolutely crucial to the Committee’s ability to arrive at any reasonable assessment of the efficacy of NHS budgetary allocation, prioritisation and spending. The Committee will revisit the matter in next year’s work with the boards.
Backlog maintenance has been something of a recurring theme of the Committee’s NHS boards budget scrutiny in the last two years and one to which it will doubtless return in 2014. The Committee will also seek the views of its newly appointed budget adviser to inform its overall approach to next year’s scrutiny of the boards.
In broad terms, though, the Committee will continue to make use of Local Delivery Plans and its survey approach established in recent years. The LDPs offer three lines of inquiry: earmarked and non-recurring funding; planning assumptions in relation to pay, prices and prescribing; and efficiency savings. Regarding the questionnaire, officials will also be tasked with liaising with a selection of boards, territorial and special, in order to explore further avenues of potentially useful questioning and meaningful scrutiny.