Scottish NHS performing well, say auditors
By David Scott
10 December 2009
The NHS in Scotland has improved its financial performance and met most of its national targets for patient and service improvement, a wide-ranging analysis by Audit Scotland has found.
But the watchdog’s report, published on December 10, said that it would still need to do more in a tighter financial climate.
‘The NHS needs to do more to identify efficiencies, understand and improve levels of productivity, review services and work more effectively with its partners,’ it said.
‘This will be essential for it to continue to meet financial targets and maintain the level and quality of services it provides. In order to do this, the NHS needs accurate and up-to-date information about activity, costs and quality.’
In 2008/09, there had been a small underspend on a budget of £10.6bn. But the watchdog warned that 2009/10 would be a peak year for public spending for some time to come, and that budgets were predicted to reduce in real terms over the next financial years.
Auditor general Bob Black said: ‘The service faces real pressure from both existing cost pressures and from the impact of the recession on public sector spending. The NHS will need to ensure that it continues to provide good quality care while becoming more efficient.’
There remained deep-seated health-related problems such as drug and alcohol misuse levels that are high compared with the rest of the UK, as well as increasing teenage pregnancies.
‘The NHS cannot deal with these by itself and needs to work with other parts of the public sector, such as education and social services,’ the report stated.