A cash-strapped health partnership has predicted the emergency measures needed to fight the coronavirus could cost it around £7.1 million.
The report by the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership (PKHSCP) says £5.6m is expected to go towards social care and £1.5m to health services during the 20/21 financial year.
Just over £3m is planned to go towards third party care provider costs, £200,000 will go on providing extra capacity in care homes, £100,000 will go to equipment including PPE and computers and £900,000 will go towards additional staff, among other expenditures.
A total of £531,000 has already been spent in the previous financial year to combat the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Perth and Kinross.
Furthermore, the PKHSCP has warned that dipping in to earmarked reserves will “significantly compromise” the delivery of radical improvements needed to mental health services.
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It follows a report by Dr David Strang who voiced the need for a review to vastly improve the service.
In a report to go before IJB members today (May 29), PKHSCP officials did highlight that the coronavirus costs are a “high level estimate at the worst case scenario” and that the actual figures are likely to be revised “significantly downwards” moving forward.
Chief financial officer, Jane Smith, said: “The next period will undoubtedly present both continued and new cost pressures as either lockdown continues or restrictions have to be reconfigured.
“Whilst some costs are considered ‘one-off’, some of the financial implications will have far reaching and recurring consequences for health and social care partnerships.
“In particular, as the requirement to return to full service provision, our ability to redeploy staff to cover staff sickness will become limited and additional staffing costs are likely to increase significantly.
“This has not been accounted for in financial estimates.”
“The Scottish Government has indicated that both earmarked and un-earmarked reserves held by IJBs may be required to be released to offset additional COVID-related costs.
“This use of earmarked reserves in this way will significantly compromise the delivery of wider transformation commitments, including mental health improvement plans.
“It is therefore imperative that any plans to utilise IJB reserves is not only fair and consistent with the use of reserves by other public bodies, but goes hand-in-hand with national agreement to suspend nationally driven modernisation programmes.”
In December, the Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board (IJB), which operates the partnership, predicted a £3.8 million overspend.
The partnership is expected to get an initial advance of £1.4 million from the Scottish Government.