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Economist questions Scotland's NHS spending plansEconomist questions Scotland's NHS spending plans

A new analysis by public finance economist John McLaren has argued that the Scottish Government was over-optimistic in its health spending plans, particularly in its projections of efficiency gains.

Writing in the Scottish Trends website, Dr McLaren criticised the Scottish Government's recently published medium term plans for health and social care spending stating that there were ‘untenable' discrepancies between its estimates of future funding needs for healthcare and those for England, which had been detailed in an independent assessment.

The report provides a like by like comparison between the Scottish Government's estimate for around 3.5% annual, cash terms, funding needs growth over the next five years and 6.7% estimated for England.

This equates to an extra £455 million needed at 3.5% or over £870 million needed at 7%, an underestimate of around £400 million.

The Scottish Government also forecast efficiency savings of 1.3% whilst independent analysis put English efficiency savings at 0.8%.

Dr McLaren's fundamental point is that there is insufficient scrutiny of Scotland's health spending and future needs particularly when local government, which funds the majority of homecare, has been subjected to cuts at five times the rate of the reduction in the Scottish Government's own budget.

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UKHCA News ID: 234855

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