AN NHS Fife finance chief believes it is "highly likely" that Scottish Government intervention will be required with the health board running at an overspend of just under £16m so far this year.

The dire financial situation will be outlined at a meeting of the health board on Tuesday when members will hear the overspend has gone up by nearly £5m since the last report two months ago.

Reasons for the deficit include increasing costs for medicine and staffing as well as delays in making cost savings.

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A board report from Maxine Michie, deputy director of finance, states: “Despite ongoing attempts to reduce costs and a commitment to avoid any additional investment in our services, it is highly likely that the board will require significant financial brokerage to break-even."

The report looks at the board’s financial performance and financial sustainability from the start of the financial year (April 2023) until the end of September.

Ms Michie said the current financial position has “materially deteriorated” this quarter with “very limited progress” made towards the board’s cost-reduction targets.

She added: “Given the position reported at the end of September, it is clear that the organisation will require a level of brokerage to deliver a balanced financial position, we maintain close contact with the Scottish Government in this regard.

“The key reasons for the deteriorating position relate to the level of challenge associated with delivering the in-year savings target in full and an increasing level of spend generally on supplementary medical and nursing staff which is tracking significantly higher than last financial year."

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Costs for supplementary staff are “increasing and ongoing” thanks to the levels of staff absence across NHS Fife and pressure on acute services due to high demand.

It also reflects the board’s limited progress to deliver the agreed £15m cost improvement programme.

Delivering the Scottish Government’s three per cent saving and sustainability programme was key to the board’s 2023-24 budget.

However, Ms Michie said they had made little headway.

“At the end of September, progress to deliver on our cost improvement target has been very limited,” she added.

“While a lot of actions have been taken forward to create the infrastructure required to support the delivery of cost efficiencies, we are significantly behind which pushes delivery into quarters 3-4 of the financial year.”