A Scottish Parliament committee has been told NHS Tayside is on track to balance its budget within three years, with staff urged to take part in a Dragon’s Den-style contest to find ideas for savings.
It emerged earlier this month that the health board needs to make cutbacks of £20 million through its Transforming Tayside programme.
On Monday, chief executive Grant Archibald addressed members of the Health and Sport Committee in Perth and stressed that efforts were being made to reach a break-even position.
“It is absolutely essential that we spend wisely the money from the public purse,” he said.
“A pound in the health service is the same as a pound in anyone’s pocket and it can be spent only once. We should only be spending what we have.
“One of the major challenges I accepted was that we would balance the budget by the end of a three year period.
“We are making good progress, but there remains a continued challenge. We are up for that challenge and we are working with our clinical colleagues to find the best design for services, to make them as efficient as possible.”
It emerged this month that the health board forecasts an overspend of its own budget of around £11.2m – although this remains in line with existing projections.
It was able to absorb an £800,000 share of overspend by the Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board in September because services were already ahead of plan.
Mr Archibald said: “In the current year, we are confident about the figures we are delivering and we are set to hit the target that was set by the Scottish Government.
“We are already engaging about what year two and three of the recovery plan looks like.
“Transforming Tayside is at the heart of this, and that will involve making incremental changes, but we aim to transform how services work.
“For too many years, Tayside has been providing services at a cost that cannot be afforded and therefore we need to radically review that.”
He said nearly 100 redesign schemes proposed by clinicians were being assessed.
“We have created almost like a Dragon’s Den, where their ideas are being brought forward and we are testing them against a criteria.
“If you look at our detailed proposals for next year, you will see we plan to make £7 million of savings through that re-design programme. We are now at a stage where we are working through a whole array of schemes to identify those that will deliver quickly and those that might take longer.”