NHS Highland is facing a £75 million financial black hole at the end of the financial year – with £56m related to Covid.
An update of the health authority’s financial situation was described to board members, including the “pressures associated with managing Covid-19”.
At the end of August an overspend of £20.169m was reported, with £12.273m of this relating to costs associated with the response to Covid-19 slippage.
An overspend of £75.061m is now being forecast for the end of the financial year on March 31, 2021, with £56.128m of this being related to Covid-19.
However, commitments from the Scottish Government would still require to be taken into account.
The health board was also given an outline on performance targets.
Fiona Hogg, director of human resources, said sickness absence rates within the organisation’s 10,500 workforce was 4.7%, much in line with a Scottish average of 4.5%.
However, she said that two thirds of those absent were long-term sickness while there was also an increase in those off work with “mental health issues, including anxiety and stress”.
She added: “There is an important focus for us to provide good support for staff.”
Regarding Covid-related absences, she told the board that this was separate from other absences, and typically sat at below 5% of the workforce – about 50 – in any one month.
Work has been done in recruitment new staff which has reduced the waiting list from 1,954 in April to 1,435 in July – a reduction of 500 in four months.