Politicians yesterday accused the Scottish Government of making it look as if it was announcing almost £33million of new health board funding when this was not the case.
They also pointed out that the so-called announcement had been made in the run-up to two important elections for the SNP.
Health Secretary Shona Robison announced that NHS Highland was to receive an extra £24.8million for 2015-16 – a 4.7% increase on 2014-15 bringing the board’s budget to more than £550million.
She also confirmed that the previously announced £1.8million in 2015-16 to tackle delays in discharging patients from hospital would be added to this figure, making a total increase of 5.1%.
Ms Robison said NHS Orkney would receive an additional £5.4million, NHS Western Isles would get an extra £1.5million and a further £1.1million would go to NHS Shetland.
But Labour Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant said: “This is not new money. It has already been announced.
“Elections are coming up, the NHS is crumbling and they want to be seen to be doing something so they are just reannouncing it.”
And Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Mary Scanlon said: “It will have escaped no one that this funding covers two important election years for the SNP.
“I welcome the additional funding NHS Highland will receive in 2015-16, but what the health board really needs is security and stability of funding year-on-year rather than a cash injection at a time of crisis.”
She added that she was sure the three island health boards would also prefer to be fully funded so they could plan ahead.
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish government confirms the allocations to the health boards every year after the government’s budget has been passed by the Scottish parliament. This is also prior to the start of the financial year to ensure parliament and the public know exactly how much funding is being allocated to their health board.”
A spokesman for Shona Robinson said: “These comments by Rhoda Grant and Mary Scanlon would have more credibility if they hadn’t both voted against last week’s budget which gave funding increases to their local boards.”