Headlines: February 10th, 2003

National Health Service Boards in Scotland are being given more money – but  they have been warned this must lead to improved services to patients.Allocations will increase by an average of almost 8 per cent in the coming financial year with a record 4.997 billion pounds being distributed between the 15 Boards.

Scottish Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said, “These record additional resources will enable the NHS to further improve patient care and services, help pay for more nurses and doctors in our wards, and support the use of ever more advanced technology, treatment and drugs. Indeed, as we have continued to make clear, funding increases of this scale must be matched by further improvements in services to patients.”

Managers and clinicians would be expected to use the money to deliver real change and improvements in the areas which mattered most to patients – cancer treatment and care, tackling waiting times and driving up standards in hospital cleanliness and infection control. “We will continue to measure progress against these priorities through our Performance Assessment Framework, and to hold NHS Boards to account,” Mr. Chisholm said.

The financial performance of boards would also be closely monitored to ensure that they continued to balance their books so that they could invest in services bringing maximum benefits to patients.

Finally, he said the boards would have to listen to the views of their patients and their staff and ensure that they were fully involved in the planning, redesign and modernisation of services.