Auditors believe NHS Tayside’s financial management has improved following a series of scandals last year, according to a new draft report.
Audit Scotland’s notes on the health board’s last financial year said the ability to monitor where its money goes has improved since the disasters of 2018.
Fiona Mitchell-Knight, assistant director of the audit body, has given a “pleasing” assessment of the health service to board members.
“It’s good news in terms of 2018/19, but obviously looking further forward it’s still a very challenging situation we’re in,” she said.
As of April this year, NHS Tayside is working to longer-term three-year plans for both its finances and performance targets, having previously tested itself against annual targets.
Health bosses said the longer timescale is more manageable – but Ms Mitchell-Knight warned there was “a lack of clarity” around the board’s long-term goals.
She said: “We’re hoping this new three-year planning will allow boards to draw up more tangible medium to long-term plans.
“You’re not the only board where that’s really challenging to do.”
NHS Tayside achieved its financial plan last year – albeit only because it was given a £17.6 million bailout by ministers.
In all, the board received around £65.5m in Scottish Government loans – all of which has been written off as part of a “clean-slate” initiative.
And so far in 2019/20, the board is £3.2m over budget – something finance boss Alan Gray called “not unusual at this time of year”.
But the Audit Scotland report also recognises the improved openness of the board following financial scandals last year.
Former Tayside chairman John Brown, who stepped down on Sunday, said: “Audit Scotland has clearly highlighted the issues the board faces.”