The 2018/19 audit of NHS Highland


The 2018/19 audit of NHS Highland

In a report to the Scottish Parliament, Auditor General for Scotland Caroline Gardner said she had concerns about the NHS board’s capacity to make the urgent and major changes required, given its significant and long-standing problems and track record in addressing these issues.
 In 2018/19, NHS Highland had identified savings of £50.5 million. The board only realised planned savings of £26.6 million and a further £5.9 million from other savings and benefits. The board required Scottish Government loans of £18 m to meet its financial targets. 
The board faces a range of other long-standing issues, including: considerable overspends on drugs and adult social care; a rising locum staffing bill; significant organisational and leadership changes, continuing difficulties recruiting staff and incidents of bullying. 
 Caroline Gardner said: “NHS Highland urgently needs a clear and achievable plan to redesign services. This must go beyond the series of short-term fixes we have seen in the past. Longer-term planning is critical in ensuring it can continue to deliver the services needed by people living across the NHS Highland area. The scale of changes needed are such that the board is unlikely to become financially stable in the next two years.
 “Given the board's past record in addressing problems, and the current leadership and organisational difficulties it faces, I am concerned about its capacity to bring about the necessary changes.”

The 2018/19 audit of NHS Highland

Oral evidence session 14 November 2019

The Committee took evidence from the Auditor General for Scotland, Audit Scotland and Grant Thornton UK LLP. Also in attendance was Edward Mountain MSP.

Please read the Official Report of 14 November 2019.

Meeting papers for 14 November 2019

Minutes from 14 November 2019 

The Committee agreed to take oral evidence from NHS Highland and the Scottish Government at a future meeting. These evidence sessions were subsequently postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oral evidence session 8 October 2020

The Committee took evidence from Pam Dudek, Chief Executive and Prof. Boyd Robertson, Chair, NHS Highland;

John Connaghan, Chief Executive NHS Scotland and Richard McCallum, Interim Director of Health Finance and Governance, Scottish Government; followed by

The Auditor General for Scotland and Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Please read the Official Report of 8 October 2020 

Meeting papers for 8 October 2020.

Minutes from 8 October 2020

Meeting correspondence and follow-up

Correspondence from Pam Dudek, Chief Executive of NHS Highland, to Acting Convener, 11 November 2020 (5097KB pdf)


The Committee agreed at its meeting on 3 December 2020 to write to the Health and Sport Committee and the Scottish Government, then close its scrutiny of the report.

Letter from Acting Convener to Convener of Health and Sport Committee, 22 December 2020 (193KB pdf)

Letter from Acting Convener to Richard McCallum, Interim Director Health Finance and Governance, Scottish Government, 22 December 2020 (195KB pdf)

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