Cash concerns over health and social care services

Fife Integration Joint Board is experiencing financial pressures which could affect its ability to improve services.

Watchdogs have raised serious concerns over financial problems facing the organisation responsible for planning health and social care services in Fife.

The Accounts Commission has warned pressures on Fife Integration Joint Board (IJB) could undermine its ability to improve health services which people in the area “depend on”.

The IJB has recorded overspends in 2018/19 and the previous two years, which have been met by its partners NHS Fife and Fife Council.

The board has also been told to tackle weaknesses in performance reporting, commit to agreed recovery actions and address a lack of clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities of the IJB and its partners.

Graham Sharp, chair of the Accounts Commission said, “The Accounts Commission are seriously concerned about slow progress in Fife IJB and its clear ongoing financial sustainability issues.

“If this persists it will inevitably affect the ability of the IJB and its partners, Fife Council and NHS Fife, to improve health and social care services local people depend on.

“We welcome some recent progress, including permanent appointments to the posts of Chief Officer and Chief Finance Officer and a review of its financial strategy.

“Now, as a matter of urgency, these plans must be actioned and delivered on. Above all, a robust financial recovery plan must be put in place.”

Nicky Connor, director of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said progress has been made but “there is much more” to be done over the coming months.

He said: “Like many integration joint boards, Fife is not alone in facing significant challenges. We value the findings from the Accounts Commission report, it highlights the key areas we need to focus on as a board.

“There has been progress made with a new Strategic Plan for the next three years approved, an integrated transformation board created and a medium to long-term financial strategy is in development.

“There is much more we can do and over the coming months we will be working to progress these.”

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