Scottish NHS boards planning '£226.7m in cuts'

Hospital ward The Scottish government said record spending is planned for the NHS

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A report from an independent health economist shows NHS boards plan to make £226.7m in planned cuts next year, Scottish Labour has said.

The paper to Holyrood's health committee was prepared by Dr Andrew Walker, of the University of Glasgow.

It examines what level of savings boards plan to make in 2012-13.

The Scottish government said it was committed to protecting health spending and Labour was wrong to suggest that the health budget was being cut.

NHS boards, along with other public services in Scotland, have been asked to deliver 3% efficiency savings in 2012-13.

According to Scottish Labour Dr Walker's report shows NHS Ayrshire and Arran plans to save £14m, Borders £5.9m, Dumfries and Galloway £7.5m and Fife £17.5m

Forth Valley has proposed £11.2m in savings, Grampian £12m, Greater Glasgow and Clyde £58m, Highland £23.8m and Lanarkshire £19.2m.

Cuts of £27m are planned by Lothian, Orkney £1.4m, Shetland £2.5m, Tayside £24.5m and Western Isles £2.2m.

'Valuable jobs'

Scottish Labour said front line staff have borne the brunt of spending cuts.

It said more than 4,500 NHS workers had lost their jobs since 2009, including more than 2,000 nurses.

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the planned savings by health boards undermined the SNP government's promise to protect the NHS in Scotland.

She said: "The cold, hard reality is that across Scotland health boards are being forced to make multi-million pound cuts because of SNP budget decisions.

"The SNP government at Holyrood appear increasingly out of touch with the pain they are inflicting on our health services locally.

"It is grossly unfair that it is hardworking front line NHS staff that are being forced to bear the brunt of the SNP's cuts."

She added: "When budgets are tight, Scottish Labour believes resources should be targeted at the front line to protect staff doing valuable jobs caring and saving lives."

A government spokeswoman said the health resource budget was protected.

'Safe hands'

She added: "We will see a record £11.6bn resource funding for health in Scotland in 2014-15, that's £826 million more than in 2011-12.

"These figures are absolutely not cuts to the health budget - boards are looking to make some services more efficient and any savings will be reinvested in local front line care.

"It is right that boards make sure the taxpayer gets the best possible value for money."

The spokeswoman said the government was also investing funding in health initiatives and projects such as the New South Glasgow Hospitals.

She added: "It is also important to point out that the Budget Report by the parliament's health committee published earlier this year and agreed unanimously by all members, concluded that the health settlement was generous."

SNP MSP Jim Eadie, a member of the health committee, said Scotland's NHS was in "very safe hands".

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