The organisation responsible for planning health and social care services in Fife is facing significant and ongoing financial problems, with recurring overspends.
The Accounts Commission, Scotland's local authority watchdog, reports that Fife Integration Joint Board (IJB) has had overspends in 2018/19 and in the previous two years. These overspends had to be met by the IJB’s two partners, NHS Fife and Fife Council.
The Commission highlights that ongoing financial pressures will likely undermine how the IJB will be able to improve vital health and social care services for the people of Fife.
Whilst national reports by the Accounts Commission have reported on significant challenges faced by many IJBs beyond Fife IJB, the Commission are clear there are long-standing financial difficulties within Fife IJB that need to be addressed. The board must also tackle weaknesses in its performance reporting, commit to delivering on 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."