Fears have been raised that elderly and vulnerable patients in Perth and Kinross will suffer after cash-strapped NHS Tayside had its Scottish Government funding for winter slashed.
The PA can reveal the Scottish Government has almost halved the amount allocated to NHS Tayside for its winter planning.
Government funding is set to drop from £737,734 last year to £368,938. NHS Tayside will now need to find an additional £631,062 to bring the winter planning fund up to £1million.
A spokesperson for NHS Tayside told the PA: “NHS Tayside, the three health and social care partnerships in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross, and the Scottish Ambulance Service are developing the 2019/20 winter plan.
“The plan, which focuses on a whole system health and social care response,
for the people of Tayside and manage the increased demand we experience over the winter period in our communities and hospitals.
“Total funding available for the 2019/20 winter plan in Tayside is £1m, which is the same budget that was available in 2018/19.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, said: “This is a huge drop in funding for winter planning for NHS Tayside.
“Already NHS Tayside is in financial trouble and this will make matters worse. There is bound to be a negative impact on patients, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.
“I am deeply concerned to hear this news. The SNP government needs to assure us that NHS boards will get the resources they need this winter.”
MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, Luke Graham, added: “Just four weeks ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer committed an additional £1.2 billion to Scotland for use on health, education and police for the next year.
“Instead of protecting Perth and Kinross, they are using the extra funds for pet nationalist projects and supporting their voters in the central belt. Our rural communities should not be left behind and money is not the issue – it is the SNP policy decisions that are impacting our communities.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We are supporting health boards to put robust plans in place ahead of winter.
“As in previous years, boards will receive additional resources to deal with pressures caused by winter, the details of which will be published shortly.
“NHS boards and integrated partnerships are working together to plan the action needed to ensure quality of care, patient safety and access to services are maintained over the winter period.”
The Scottish Government says it makes funding available in other areas and supports health boards to improve services through the £850m waiting times improvement plan, including more than £102m in the current financial year.
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