CIPFA welcomes new health and social care financial framework

A new medium term financial framework for Scotland’s health and social care has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

In a statement to parliament, health secretary Jeane Freeman said that the document sets out the twin approach of investment and reform to meet the increasing demands expected on our health and care system.

Dr Eleanor Roy, CIPFA’s health and social care policy manager, said: “CIPFA welcomes the publication of the Scottish Government’s medium-term financial framework, and its inclusion of the whole of health and social care. The health and social care sector is coming under more and more pressure from growing demand, tightened funding and an increasingly complex and challenging financial environment. Therefore, this approach to medium term financial planning is a clear first step towards building financial resilience.

“It will also be a valuable tool with which to model delivery plans at the local levels. It is encouraging to see such a medium term planning approach being taken, and we would encourage other areas of the UK to consider the principles underpinning this initiative.

“The framework itself recognises the need for regular updates, to deal with the complex financial environment in which it will be applied. CIPFA sees this as essential to implementing the framework in a challenging financial environment, and in ensuring that the framework itself evolves alongside policy implementation. In particular, this will be necessary in monitoring progress on the planned savings incorporated in the framework. CIPFA looks forward to working closely with the Scottish Government on this in the future.”

Ms Freeman was speaking as she announced a deal which aims to give health boards more financial flexibility to continue delivering quality care.

Under the plans, NHS territorial boards will now be required to set out finance and improvement plans that break even over a three-year period. Currently plans are assessed over one year.

Ms Freeman said: “Today I am offering NHS boards a new deal. In return for their efforts to deliver the reforms for the future I am facilitating a new three-year financial planning and performance framework for our NHS territorial boards.

“This change will require boards to deliver a breakeven position over a three-year period, rather than annually as is the case currently. In each year boards will have a 1% flexibility on their annual resource budget to allow them scope to marginally under or over spend in that year.

“For this new deal to be successful I believe it needs a new start. So to give all our territorial boards clear ground to move forward on that three-year planning cycle, I will not seek to recover NHS territorial boards’ outstanding brokerage - the expenditure incurred by Territorial Boards over the last five years which has been above their budget.

“I want all boards to be able to focus their attention on delivering the measures set out in the Health and Social Care Delivery Plan and this Financial Framework, and to do so in a safe and appropriate way - making sure they maintain a strong focus on patient care and the delivery of the services to patients that is safe, effective, person centred – and timely.”

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