No plan to cut jobs at NHS Tayside, says Health Secretary

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman says there are no plans to cut staff at NHS Tayside after reports 1,300 jobs could be shed.

Official papers indicated NHS Tayside would look to balance the books by reducing its workforce by 10%.

They said this would be done through "natural staff turnover" and no redundancies.

Ms Freeman insisted any assertion staff numbers would be cut is "factually incorrect".

Ms Freeman said: "As with all NHS boards, Tayside wants to plan effectively to ensure patient safety with the right staff and right skills where they are needed.

"In doing this, I have been clear with all boards that I will not accept changes that impact negatively on patient accessibility to care.

"There is no agreed level of reduction in staff, there is no agreed level of any reduction in staff.

"What we are dealing with here is sub-committee minutes to a board which simply noted them, no decisions have been taken.

"What we are looking at here is how to best deploy the staff resource that we have in NHS Tayside and elsewhere in order to meet current and future demand across a whole system, which includes health and social care, as well as acute and secondary care in our health service."

NHS Tayside is among a number of health boards to have a combined total of around £150 million worth of debt written off by the Scottish Government.

It has a projected deficit of £18.7 million for 2018-19.

Annie Ingram, NHS Tayside director of workforce, said: "Over the past two years, NHS Tayside has carried out a number of workforce benchmarking exercises which showed NHS Tayside's spending on workforce is higher than similarly sized health boards.

"We spend around £540 million on staff every year and we have a responsibility to ensure that our public funding is spent in the best possible way.

"It is important that we identify where efficiencies can be made whilst ensuring that services are being delivered with the best use of the resources we are allocated.

"There is a no compulsory redundancy policy in NHS Scotland therefore no one will lose their job. Any reduction will be due to natural staff turnover."