NHS Resource Allocation Committee Funding (NHS Grampian)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

7. To ask the Scottish Government whether NHS Grampian will receive its full share of NRAC funding in the next Scottish Government budget. (S5O-03631)

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government will publish its spending plans in due course as part of the Scottish budget.

Under this Government, NHS Grampian’s budget has increased by almost 30 per cent above inflation, and this year, the board is receiving record investment that is in excess of £957 million. In 2019-20, the Scottish Government continues to ensure that no board is more than 0.8 per cent from NRAC parity.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

Well, 0.8 per cent sounds great, but the Scottish Parliament information centre has confirmed that over the past 10 years, the Scottish Government has given NHS Grampian £239 million less than it was supposed to receive under the Scottish Government’s own funding formula. That has led to 30 per cent of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment for chronic pain, and to cancer treatment times not being met for a quarter of patients. Will the cabinet secretary find at least some of that missing £239 million in order to put this situation right?

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

I have to point out to Mr Rumbles that NHS Grampian is a great deal closer to parity than it ever was when his party was in government in Scotland. I also point out the significant additional funding that NHS Grampian has received and say that, given the significant additional investment in waiting times and other areas, being 0.8 per cent away from parity is not a sufficient reason for NHS Grampian or any other board to continue to fail to meet its targets—we have had that discussion before.

I also point out that between 2015-16 and 2019-20, in being moved closer to parity, along with other boards in the area, NHS Grampian has received additional recurring funding of £56.2 million. I think that that places NHS Grampian in a good position to deliver the healthcare that the citizens of that area deserve.

Photo of Tom Mason Tom Mason Conservative

Thank you, returning officer—[

Laughter

.]

I mean thank you, Presiding Officer. My apologies, but I was caught up in the by-election in Bridge of Don in Aberdeen.

NHS Grampian has recently missed its targets for delayed discharge, accident and emergency waiting times, drug and alcohol treatment waiting times, chronic pain waiting times and the 18-week referral-to-treatment period. Since the NRAC formula was introduced in 2009, NHS Grampian has never reached parity, resulting in a total shortfall of £239 million over that period. Does the cabinet secretary accept that those two things might just be related?

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

No, I do not, because other boards are in the same position and are performing better than NHS Grampian, as indeed NHS Grampian is performing better than other boards.

We have the £850 million additional investment in waiting times and the additional investment in mental health services and care, because our real focus with those boards is on the trajectory that is set out in the waiting times plan that I published last year—if Tom Mason would care to go back to look at it—in order to improve performance and meet waiting times targets.

Much of the issue is down to service design and delivery, and it is not as much about the resourcing of our health service as members might care to argue. I remind members that the resourcing that our health service receives is the highest that it has ever been since the Parliament reconvened.