Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

NHS Lothian 'needs £31m' to return services to 2017 levels

Jim Crombie Image copyright Scottish Parliament
Image caption Mr Crombie was giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament's health committee

NHS Lothian would need £31m to return services to the levels provided last year, MSPs have been told.

The figure was given by acting chief executive Jim Crombie in evidence to Holyrood's Health Committee.

However, NHS Lothian has insisted it is "financially stable" and the figure was only an estimate of the additional investment for new services.

In a statement released after the committee hearing, Mr Crombie said: "It is not a gap in our finances".

Giving his evidence to the health committee, Mr Crombie told MSPs NHS Lothian had "characterised a gap in our ability and our capacity to deliver against the access targets".

He said: "We've been clear to the board, we've been clear to government that there is a significant element of funding that would be required to allow us to recover.

"Part of the request from the Scottish government was to present what they characterise as an operational plan...for 2018/19 and in that we've characterised all of our intelligence around demand, all of our intelligence around efficiency, productivity and maximising the use of our resource.

"But even doing all that we've characterised a gap and we've characterised the quantum of funding that would be required to allow NHS Lothian to return to the levels of performance in terms of patients waiting over 12 weeks at March 2017."

'Rising demand'

Pressed by committee convener Lewis Macdonald on the figure, he added: "to return NHS Lothian to the position of March 2017 is £31m, circa."

Jacquie Campbell, chief officer of acute services at the health board, added: "Even if we had the funding to return to March 2017 we don't have the overarching capacity either internally or with the external providers in relation to that and there's often a lead in time in starting up capacity."

In the later statement released by NHS Lothian, Mr Crombie said: "The £31m figure is an estimate of the additional investment in new services that would be required to address rising demand in the coming years, while also returning waiting times to the performance levels seen in March 2017.

"It is not a gap in our finances and it is not a spend we will incur if that additional funding is not received."

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