Scottish Boards serving remote and rural areas have to make greater savings than their urban counterparts, Scotland's health scrutineer has said.
In a report examining NHS Board budgets for 2012-13, the Health and Sport Committee finds that Shetland has a savings target of 6.8%, while the target for Grampian is 1.7%.
Charged with vetting the NHS in Scotland, the committee says that service quality also needs consideration. Vowing to add quality measures to its next scrutiny round, the committee told ministers that "saving money is only one part of the story... the quality of service for the patient must be maintained".
In a report, Health and Sport Committee 9th Report, 2012 (Session 4) NHS Boards Budget Scrutiny, the committee also asks whether the planned 2.9% overall savings target for 2012/13 is sustainable, given current inflationary pressures and a budget for 2012/13 that is unchanged at £8.6bn. It notes that Boards expect GP prescribing costs to rise from 0.5% to 4.1% due to price changes, and from 3% to 8% due to volume changes. Ministers have been told that Boards consider spiralling prescribing costs a "top" risk to financial planning.