A North-east health authority is having to make savings of £2.2 million to balance its books.
Members of the Aberdeenshire Integration Joint Board – made up of a partnership between Aberdeenshire Council and NHS Grampian – will hear this week that the level of saving initially required is estimated to be £2.2m greater than the funding contributions it will receive for the coming year.
The IJB will invest around £317 million in the region through its revenue budget managed and delivered through the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP).
NHS Grampian has allocated more than £180m along with more than £111m from Aberdeenshire Council.
The proposed savings to set a balanced revenue budget for 2019/20 include £300,000 through the withdrawal of a contract for beds with Auchtercrag Care Home with reinvestment in alternative service provision.
Around £800,000 has also been earmarked from changes in the balance of internal/external provision for older people and a review of threshold levels for new ‘home care’ packages.
In terms of the area’s community hospitals, £200,000 in savings would come from a review of efficient nursing resource with a focus on the use of supplementary staffing.
In a report to the IJB, AHSCP chief officer Adam Coldwells says that each partner’s financial settlement had been “challenging” when compared to the increasing demands on services resulting from the “demographic pressures of a growing and ageing population”.
And he praises the local authority for not offsetting its adult social care contributions under a new budget settlement deal recently announced by the Scottish Government.
It gives councils the flexibility to offset their adult social care contributions to IJBs by up to 2.2% in 2019/20 compared to 2018/19 levels.
For Aberdeenshire, this would have equated to a reduction in funding of around £2.3 million.
Commenting on Aberdeenshire’s decision not to exercise this flexibility and to maintain the IJB’s recurring budget at 2018/19 levels, Mr Coldwells states: “We consider this to be an extremely supportive move by the council which demonstrates the mature relationship and strength of partnership working between the council and the IJB.”