The north’s cash-strapped health board is to receive an extra £24.8million from the Scottish Government next year, it has been announced today.
Last year, NHS Highland needed a £2.5million loan from the government and it is currently forecasting a £2million overspend at the end of this year.
However, it recently emerged that the health board had been underfunded by several million pounds a year through the use of a formula to calculate its funding.
The additional funding for 2015-16 – announced by Health Secretary Shona Robison – is a 4.7% increase on 2014-15, bringing the board’s budget to more than £550million.
And the government’s earlier announcement that it would receive another £1.8million in 2015-16 to tackle delays in discharging patients from hospital will be added to this figure, making a total increase of 5.1%.
Ms Robison said: “The Scottish Government’s commitment to increasing NHS Highland’s budget demonstrates our continuing investment in frontline health spending.
“This comes as Scotland’s total health spending reaches more than £12billion for the first time ever.
“We’re clear that all patients in the Highlands should be treated as quickly and as effectively as possible, with the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”
She added that the increase in funding would give health boards more support to achieve this.
Ms Robison said: “We know there is still pressures on the NHS and this government is acting to deliver record funding and robust policies needed to support the hardworking and dedicated staff of our NHS.
“Tackling delayed discharge is an absolute key priority for this government and the £1.8million for NHS Highland in 2015-16 is crucial to this effort.
“Reducing delayed discharge not only helps individual patients, who benefit from getting home or to a homely setting as quickly as possible, but also helps ease pressure across the system.”