A NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) board paper reports that it has had its Winter funding cut by the Scottish Government, based on its 2018/19 figures. In 2018/19, the Scottish Government gave NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde £2.1 million to help support services during the busiest time of the year. The 2019/20 funding from the Scottish Government to support NHS GGC during the Winter is just £1.047 million.
Official papers from the health board have revealed that the board is currently predicting a £29.5 million deficit for this financial year. Health board officials have cited this deficit, combined with the winter funding cut, as reasons to worry that there will be “significant risks to maintaining services over the Winter period.” Prospects of a particular severe winter “will further stretch [the Health Board’s] ability to respond within available resources.”
This comes at a time when A&E admissions are up by 3.8% compared to this time last year and the four hour waiting time target rate has worsened this year with 88% of patients seen, treated or discharged in August compared to 90.3% last year. Other factors such as systematic closures of Out of Hours services, in particular at the Vale of Leven hospital, means patients going to A&E, further adding to pressures on the service.
Speaking after First Minister’s questions where Jackie Baillie MSP raised the problem with Nicola Sturgeon, Jackie said:
“This is a very worrying situation to be in, particularly for the thousands of elderly people in my constituency who rely on having a functioning health service to see them through the harsh winter months. The Scottish Government has a duty of care, and by cutting funds at a time when the health service is most in demand is dangerous and irresponsible.
“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been failing to deliver for patients properly with A&E beds full to capacity even in the Summer months. A combination of a lack of funding from the Scottish Government, a growing deficit from the Health Board, and the continuous closure of the Vale of Leven Out of Hours service, is going to see my constituents suffer.
“Action must be taken immediately, before the worst of the weather hits, to ensure that patients’ health is not put at risk due to a total mismanagement of our health services, by both the Government and the Health Board.
”I welcome the First Minister’s commitment to provide more funding but it needs to be sufficient to cover the challenge of providing health services over the winter period.”