The chairman of NHS Tayside is “disappointed” a report on the beleaguered board had not highlighted positive actions taken by staff recently.
Chair John Brown’s comments came during a meeting of the board at Kings Cross hospital on Thursday morning, which coincided with the release of the auditor general’s section 22 report on the service.
He noted the report was “pessimistic” and did not reflect the efforts made by the executive team and Tayside staff to transform the service since he joined the board earlier this year.
It found 13 of the 20 national performance standards were not met in 2017/18, an increase on the previous year.
NHS Tayside will end the year with an expected deficit of £18.7 million.
Yesterday’s release was auditor general Caroline Gardner’s fourth consecutive report on the cash strapped board, which she described as “deteriorating”, saying their was “little evidence” much needed service redesign was improving.
She said: “NHS Tayside financial position has been unsustainable since 2013 and urgent action is needed to turn around the organisation.
“The cabinet secretary’s announcement that all outstanding loans will be written-off at the end of 2018-19 reduces the pressure on Tayside to make repayments. But it does not address the underlying financial problems.
“Changing the ways services are delivered will be critical in reducing NHS Tayside’s operating model and comparatively high staff costs.
“However, to date there is limited evidence of this happening, increasing the need for effective leadership to drive home the board’s plans for change.”
Mr Brown said: “I was disappointed this report has not given due credit to the work the executive management team…and staff from across the board, who have done some great work to turn around some of the issues, and that will be my feedback (to the auditor general).
“They have not picked up the work being carried out transforming NHS Tayside and I expect when the next report is released, they will.
“I am confident that when they take another look at us they will be less pessimistic than they were on Thursday.
“I want the executive team to pass on to our staff although the auditor general’s report does not detail it, we recognise the efforts made over the last nine months.
“I would not want staff to be disheartened by this report.”
NHS Tayside came under further criticism from local Labour MSP Jenny Marra.
Ms Marra, who serves as convener of the Scottish Parliament’s public audit and post-legislative scrutiny committee, said she was concerned with the outcome of the report.
She said: “Unfortunately, the problems surrounding NHS Tayside’s finances continue.
“It is clear there are still major issues that need to be looked at closely.
“It is very concerning to hear of further deterioration in performance standards, compounded by leadership challenges and poor financial management.
“Our committee will look closely at this report and the plans the board has to resolve these issues.”