17 March
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Like all public sector bodies, the IJB is facing a significant budget gap as the increase in funding available is not enough to cover rising demand for services from a growing older population, as well increasing costs of delivering those services such as energy and staffing.

An estimated budget gap of £17.3 million has been identified by the IJB, with its members being asked to approve a three-year budget to help tackle this issue.

Alison White, Chief Officer of the West Lothian IJB, said:

"It's vital that our resources are focused on protecting the essential health and care services that West Lothian residents rely on.

"To put it simply, if we do not agree to make significant changes to the way in which we deliver services, we will need to stop some services altogether to make the required savings and we do not want to do that.

"What our proposals and engagement work will focus on is ensuring that the same level of service for local people continues, and the only way we can do that is to change the way in which some of these services are delivered. 

"We believe that although the proposed changes to the services are significant, the impact on our service users will be minimal. There is no immediate impact and, by setting a longer-term plan, we allow for time to engage with service users, their families and staff over the next year which is important and will allow for continuity and a smooth transition in terms of altering the way in which services are provided. 

"Many service users, such as our care home residents and care at home clients, will see no impact at all on their level of care.

"The budget strategy represents what we believe are the best possible options for both achieving savings and ensuring that key services can still be delivered and vulnerable clients' needs met.

"We will now begin a review of proposed changes with the service users, their families, staff and Trade Unions."

A public consultation was carried out, and a number of savings options have been identified that would assist in managing spend within future available funding and ensure that the current level of services provided to service users continues. The measures are to be discussed at the Integration Joint Board meeting on Tuesday (21 March).

The proposals would allow the IJB to continue to support key priorities such as delivering good outcomes for local residents, supporting independent living and modernising services.

Key proposals to deliver the required savings include: increasing the use of technology to support care, redesigning services for adults with a learning disability and internal support at home services, as well as a review of bed requirements across health and social care including community hospital beds, and a review of internal care homes. They are also reviewing the provision of core and cluster accommodation which will enable people to return to West Lothian.

She added: "West Lothian is not immune to the extremely challenging financial position that is being felt across Scotland's public services. Demand for services and cost of delivering the services is increasing more than our funding which means that tough decisions need to be made and we must become more sustainable in future."

Alison White added:

"It's only right that we review and evaluate services, and look at alternative models.  It's important not to focus only on physical buildings or who is providing services, but to focus more on maintaining levels of service and look at alternative ways to deliver services that can improve and maintain high standards for those West Lothian individuals in needs of care services."

Notes to editors:

  • West Lothian Council recently announced that they have significant budget pressures caused by increasing costs and a growing population, which is combined with insufficient levels of Scottish Government grant funding.
  • NHS Lothian are facing similar budget pressures caused by increasing costs and a growing and ageing population as well as being impacted by costs of new medicines and high cost supplementary staffing.
  • The IJB is responsible for commissioning adult health and social care services and overseeing the delivery of these services and is provided with funding by West Lothian Council and NHS Lothian to do so. It is a separate and distinct legal entity from West Lothian Council and NHS Lothian, who deliver many of the services on its behalf. The IJB is made up of NHSL board members, elected members and stakeholders representing users and voluntary sector organisations in West Lothian.