NHS Fife chairwoman Tricia Marwick has said she was “miffed” to see overspending health boards being bailed out by the Scottish Government last year.
Mrs Marwick said]as head of one of the few boards across Scotland to break even in 2018/19, it was frustrating to watch others have hundreds of millions of pounds of debts wiped out.
The former Scottish presiding officer was among a team of NHS Fife officials being questioned by Parliament’s health and sport committee on Tuesday, as it scrutinised issues of financial sustainability, cost pressures, staff governance and waiting times.
She said: “We are one of the few boards that have not had to have support and brokerage from the government.
“Our performance in terms of waiting times etcetera sits in the upper quartile in Scotland and in terms of finance and performance, we’re doing fine.”
Asked by Labour MSP Anas Sarwar how she felt when she saw other boards who had required loans, known as brokerage, have their debts written off, she replied: “I don’t think it’s any surprise I was miffed.
“We have worked very hard in Fife to ensure our financial performance has been the best it can be.
“It’s frustrating that some of the decisions we have made, along with the fantastic support of our staff…there may have been other things we could have done.
“It’s a matter of great pride in Fife that we have managed to break even.”
She added: “I would certainly have liked more more money that some health boards are getting in terms of brokerage.
“I would have liked to see some recognition that we are doing fine.”
Mrs Marwick predicted NHS Fife would continue to be in a good financial position by the end of this financial year, despite the challenges it faced.
The board began this financial year with a £17.3 million budget gap but said it was “cautiously optimistic” it would bridge it by making fundamental changes to the way it operates.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman announced in October all territorial health boards, including Tayside, would be given clean slates at the start of the 2019-20 financial year.
She said writing off the brokerage debts would allow more money to be spent on patient care.
At that point, NHS Tayside owed £45 million in brokerage and had required loans every year since 2012-13.