Jackie Baillie has branded the SNP’s attempts to claw back £331million from health and social care Integrated Joint Boards – including almost £10million from organisations within her constituency – “outrageous”.
The SNP Government first threatened to take back funding from IJB reserves in October 2022 – however, the move was blocked as the Scottish Government have no legal mechanism to do so directly.
The Scottish Government have now written to Health and Social Care partnerships confirming they will use Health Board funding to “enable Covid reserves to be returned”.
In practice, the plans mean the SNP Government will use Health Board budgets to raid IJB coffers to the tune of £331million by reducing the amount given to health boards by government.
This includes almost £5.9million from West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership and £3.59million from Argyll and Bute HSCP, totalling almost £9.5million across the two IJBs within Jackie Baillie’s Dumbarton constituency.
Labour slated the move at a time when social care is under severe pressure.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP, who is also Scottish Labour’s Health and Social Care Spokesperson, said: “This is an outrageous raid on social care funding.
“Care services are at crisis point and it is causing chaos across our NHS, but the SNP government have decided this is a good time to pick their pockets.
“I have been inundated with enquiries from constituents about the lack of care packages available locally and concerns from social care staff who are struggling to meet the demands placed on them. Many feel underpaid and undervalued with staff leaving in their droves to work in retail and hospitality where they are better paid. Removing this money now would put further strain on these budgets which impacts on delayed discharge, piling more pressure onto our overstretched hospitals.
“The SNP government are always quick to remind us that the pandemic is still taking a toll on services – but their finance department seems to think otherwise.
“They must drop these reckless plans to reduce health board budgets and let local health and social care bodies use this funding to deliver the social care services we desperately need.”