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The truths they don't want you to read....

Friday, September 28, 2007

Health Board funding

The Press and Journal reports today that "The independent review of NHS board funding submitted its final report yesterday. The recommendations from the NHS Scotland Resource Allocation Committee (NRAC), will now be considered by ministers."

And very worryingly that "
NHS Highland, Tayside, Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles would all lose out under the NRAC proposals."

There is then an assurance from Nicola Sturgeon that no Health Board will lose out, followed by the ominous words
"I can confirm that, if we decide to make any adjustments in health boards' relative funding, no board would receive less funding that it does at present and any changes would be phased in over a number of years."

Anyone who has ever been involved in public sector funding knows exactly what that means, rather than what it says.

And in this context I particularly point towards SINA (Special Islands Needs Allowance) which the Comhairle still receives. Due to movements in the 'Floor Mechanism', changes in 'Grant in Aid', inflation, ring-fenced grants and so on, the SINA received by the Comhairle is worth exactly Zero, but the Government is still honouring it's pledge to give the Comhairle extra assistance!

In this case, the cuts will come in over time as inflation eats into the Health Board grant, but of course they won't actually be 'cuts' just 'adjustments' to the funding from central Government.

It does not bode well an hopefully some clarity will come at the Review in December - except that the questions to Ms Sturgeon will have to be submitted in writing in advance, and she will answer some of them there and then. The rest will be the subject of a written reply later. And no spontaneous questions from the floor allowed.

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