Health chiefs are to slash the cost of agency nurses.

Derek Lindsay, Ayrshire and Arran NHS board director of finance, revealed the news in a paper from the Performance Governance Committee on Tuesday (May 23).

He said: “The view is the board will stop using non-framework agencies where possible due to the significantly high costs of using them and will try and assure that agency costs were at a lower rate in 2023-24. This is in line with health boards across Scotland.

“So we are following the route everybody else is in that one and rightly so.”

The committee also received the full business case for the National Treatment Centre and the draft capital plan for 2023-24.

There was a lot of scrutiny from the committee around the papers, which were approved for submission to the board following some amendments.

Meanwhile, NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s total allocations for the year are expected to be £1.03 billion.

Some £954 million has been received so far. Of the remaining £77 million, Family Health Services account for £59 million.

In the year to date, overspend on medical pay is now £3.8 million.

Medicines overspent by £800,000 in the month of March and were £3.4 million over for the year. There has been a sharp increase in medicines spend compared to last year, with haematology/oncology being the largest specialty.

Unallocated acute savings totalled £3.3 million.

Additional funding of £3.7 million was received from the Scottish Government and included in the New Medicines Fund budget, bringing it to £14.6 million. 

The total health budgets for the North, East and South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnerships are now £457.6 million. 

Together, on a cash basis, they underspent by £10 million on funds ringfenced to progress Scottish Government priorities, including funding for Mental Health Recovery and Renewal, Primary Care Improvement Plans and Alcohol and Drug Partnerships.

The Integration Joint Boards will work through their own year-end positions and earmark the funds as appropriate within reserves.

In 2022-2023, the board funded £7.3 million to HSCPs to cover overspends on Primary Care Prescribing. This was due to price increases in the cost of medicines affecting the whole country.