North Ayrshire health chiefs are in danger of overspending by almost £4 million.

But officials are hopeful they can cut costs and turn things around.

Paul Doak, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership head of finance and transformation, confirmed that the projected outturn for 2023-24 is a year-end overspend of £3.859m (1.2 per cent).

He told the Integration Joint Board: “It remains a concerning position but it has come down from the previous position by £736,000. So we are moving in the right direction but there is work still to be done.”

IJB member Joyce White added: “It is really pleasing to see the forecast spend has been reduced by the leadership team and efforts are being made to do what we  can to bring costs down.

“It is helpful that we flag up financial risk areas and we have to hold those in mind when we look at the reserves. We always have to balance the books and that’s where reserves are really important.”

At month four against the full-year budget of £310.286m there is a projected year-end overspend of £3.859m (1.2 per cent).

Against the full-year budget of £89.932m there is a projected overspend of £240,000 (0.3 per cent).

Care home placements including respite placements are projected to underspend by £430,000.

Care at home (in house and purchased) is predicted to be £749,000 underspent. The position comprises an underspend in in-house services of £1.242m as there are vacant posts, but some of the current capacity is being met by existing staff working additional hours and casual staff. 

Bank staff are being offered contracts and additional staff are being recruited which will replace the need for existing staff to work additional hours. This is partly offset by an overspend in purchased services of £493,000 following a budget reduction.

District nursing is estimated to overspend by £247,000 due to an overspend on bank nursing costs and supplies. 

However there has been significant improvement at the Anam Cara care home, which is projected to overspend by £89,000 due to covering vacancies and sickness absence (£33,000) and under-recovered income (£56,000).

The improvement comes after a review of the staff costs and some costs have been appropriately recorded to other areas of the service. 

Physical Disability Care Packages (including residential and direct payments) has a projected underspend of £169,000 in community care packages, £366,0000 underspend in direct payments and £565,000 for residential placements. 

Integrated Island Services is forecast to be £136,000 overspent and this is mainly due to a projected underspend in care at home costs of £169,000.

There is also an overspend at Montrose House in Arran of £157,000. Arran medical services are projected to overspend by £45,000 and the remaining £49,000 projected overspend is due to supplies costs increasing. 

There are staffing vacancies included within payroll turnover savings which offset the use of agency and bank staff.

There is a projected over-recovery of the vacancy savings target of £1.233m in 2023-24.

The 2023-24 budget approved the use of £1.252m of previously earmarked reserves to support a balanced budget position for 2023-24. 

The HSCP earmarked reserves also include a further amount of £2m which was agreed to support the financial position during 2023-24.