Mary Scanlon, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands and a member of the Health and Sport Committee, used a recent budget evidence session to question the Cabinet Secretary for Health on the differences in funding allocated to the three Island Health Boards.
Commenting, Mary said: “On average, NHS Orkney receives £1,540 per person; NHS Shetland receives £1,556; and NHS Western Isles receives £2,173. That means that each person in the Western Isles receives £617 more NHS funding compared to Shetland and £633 more per person compared to Orkney.
“Last year the draft budget for NHS Orkney was £0.5 million more than they received; NHS Shetland’s was £1.1 million more; and NHS Western Isles’s was £1.6 million more, because the funding formula was not applied until after the final budget was set. The actual NHS budget for the Island Boards was therefore considerably less than was outlined in the draft budget.
“I am pleased that the Scottish Government will now look at changing this system to ensure more accurate financial information is given to the Health Committee as they scrutinise the NHS budget.”
The Health Secretary has also given Mary Scanlon an assurance that she will provide clarity on the differences for funding of the three Island Health Boards. Mary added
“Given the current financial constraints and efficiency savings for the NHS, it is important to get clarity over existing spending and to ensure that each Island Health Board is given an allocation that allows for high quality Health Services despite the remoteness.”