It is to be phased in over a number of years to ensure that no Health Board suffers cuts in any year. That statement is, of course, fallacious as what is being proposed is that inflation based increases will not be awarded until such time as the new reduced level of expenditure is reached. That is to say, the Health Boards will face an annual cut in budget equal to inflation.
Consequently, those Boards who should benefit will receive only slow increases.
Such a classic stabilising mechanism is necessary to avoid large shocks, but by its nature adversely affects the 'winners'. But let us be grateful for it's existence.
The WIHB Acute and Community Health Budget is due to fall by 18% - which equates to about 5 or 6 years of no growth for inflation/cuts of 2.5-3% each year.
The culprit - and no I don't mean the NHS Scotland Resource Allocation Committee - is the new formula which "takes account of changing population, life expectancy, deprivation and remoteness of rural communities."
We know which ones we gain on, and on which we lose - so it would appear that the dropping population is resulting in more cuts in services (such as the secondary schools), leading to less viable communities and a vicious circle of decline.