The Auditor General for Scotland has just produced a very critical report on the finances of NHS Highland, and patients are rightly very concerned. It is clear that the board needs significantly more help to achieve its objectives. Will the First Minister ensure that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport provides that help, without placing NHS Highland in level 5 of the escalation process?
We will continue, as we always do, to work closely with health boards to ensure that they are managing their budgets and that they are providing the quality of patient care that they have a responsibility to provide. NHS Highland’s resource budget for this financial year increased by 2.9 per cent. The health budget overall is increasing and is now at record levels.
We will continue to properly resource our national health service. It will always work within pressures, and that has particularly been the case in recent years. We will work closely with NHS Highland and other boards to ensure that they deliver the services that patients need.