NHS Highland has made significant progress towards achieving its targeted £28 million worth of savings – but the health board remains around £5 million short of breaking even.
Despite not achieving their target to date, the chief executive remains optimistic about making the cut, come the end of the financial year next March.
Iain Stewart said: “We had a £28 million target for our savings and so far this year we have been able to establish £23 million so that has given us a £5 million gap.
“The big thing is that we believe we can close that gap through what is called non-recurring savings.”
Mr Stewart revealed that the current saving total of £23 million has been made possible from the rise of recurring savings, which now makes up 81% of the total made to date.
Mr Stewart added: “When you look at other health boards in Scotland it is the reverse.
“This is actually a really good achievement and is absolutely going to help.
“Recurrent savings help next year, and the next year and the year after. If you do not have recurrent savings you have got to go and find the savings again and again which makes it even more difficult for future years.
“We heard today that achieving £5 million is optimistic but I believe we can make that. However, in saying that we do have cost pressures that we do have to look at how we can resolve these.
“I believe we are in a good position to achieve our savings, however, cost pressures are there that we will have to put a lot of effort into reducing.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain, who yesterday sat in on the board’s meeting, expressed his concern on the future of financing of the health authority, stating he fears that “targets will be missed”.