Moray Council and NHS Grampian have been forced to pick up the tab after care budgets in the region were overspent by nearly £1.2 million.
The two organisations fund a partnership branded Health and Social Care Moray to run shared medical and social services.
Now it has been confirmed that the body overspent its budget for 2018/19 for the first time since it was formed three years ago.
Warnings were made during yesterday’s meeting of the integrated joint board (IJB), which governs the partnership, that the lack of financial control could hold up efforts to reshape services in Moray to cope with changing care needs.
Vice-chairman Jonathan Passmore, who is a NHS Grampian board member, said: “There have been significant overspends and significant underspends which suggest that maybe our structure in the first place was not robust enough.
“I suspect part of that is knowing what things cost.
“We could take the view that this is OK because our partners have to bail us out, which is fine in terms of our own bottom line – but that doesn’t make it OK.
“If our budget shows an overspend then it makes transformation very difficult.”
The largest overspends included prescriptions, which was overspent by £993,000, and care for older people and those with sensory disabilities, which was overspent by £1.7 million.
Significant underspends included staffing costs related to in-house care services and efficiencies found within the administration and management.
Rules set up when the partnership was formed means the NHS must supply £751,000 to cover the overspend while the council must pay £441,000 at a time when both are already facing budget pressures of their own.
Tracey Abdy, Health and Social Care Moray’s chief financial officer, explained that both organisations had been kept informed about the likely overspend throughout the year.
She said: “The positive side for us is that the overspend has actually been very consistent through the year.
“In November it was at £1.4 million so we have actually managed to bring that in a little bit since then.”
Health and Social Care Moray approved a balanced budget for the forthcoming year during its IJB meeting in March amid warnings financial pressures were likely to continue.