A bleak picture of health service finances was presented to the integration joint board (IJB) on Wednesday where members heard of a predicted overspend of £4.8 million.
NHS Shetland’s head of finance Karl Williamson told the board that high locum costs remained the biggest cost pressure facing health services in Shetland.
Vacancies have been a persistent problem with a number of GPs requiring locum cover. These practices include Brae, Whalsay and Walls. This is set to contribute to a projected overspend of around £1.1 million in primary care by the end of the financial year.
The IJB must break even at the end of each financial year which means that the SIC and NHS Shetland will provide one-off payments to the board should the projected overspend materialise.
Around £400,000 will be required from the SIC to cover the overspend on services delegated to the board.
NHS Shetland, meanwhile, may be forced to explore the possibility of brokerage with the Scottish Government to cover a £4.4 million overspend in the NHS arm of IJB budgets. This may have implications for future allocations to the board, the meeting heard.
• More in Friday’s Shetland Times