Concerns over NHS Forth Valley’s performance have prompted direct oversight from the Scottish Government.
The health board has been escalated to stage four of NHS Scotland’s National Performance Framework for Governance, Leadership and Culture, ministers have announced.
Issues around waiting times, out-of-hours services and the integration of social care have been cited by health chiefs.
Stage four is defined by the framework as posing “significant risks to delivery, quality, financial performance or safety, senior level external support required.”
The Scottish Government will oversee the development and delivery of NHS Forth Valley’s Improvement Plan to address concerns in out of hours and unscheduled care.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Staff in NHS Forth Valley continue to work tirelessly to deliver the high quality care we expect. However, there are continuing concerns about the ability of the leadership to effectively respond to issues when raised.
“We have been engaging with NHS Forth Valley for some time on a range of performance-related issues, including concerns around GP out-of-hours services and unscheduled care. The common barrier to improvement in these areas is governance, leadership and culture.
“Escalation to stage four will bring direct oversight from the Scottish Government and we will work with Forth Valley to ensure immediate improvement.
“Significant work is already under way to address the legitimate concerns raised and I will update Parliament as progress is made.”
A NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said: “We welcome the additional support being provided and are committed to working closely with the Scottish Government to deliver any changes or improvements recommended by the Assurance Board.”
Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) will publish a report in the coming weeks following a recent unannounced ‘safe delivery of care’ inspection.