The chairman of NHS Tayside has said the health board will run into “serious difficulties” if its current level of spending continues.
About 60 members of the public attended the board’s annual review, held at St Paul’s RC High School in Dundee, where they were able to quiz NHS bosses on their performance.
The meeting came days after Auditor General for Scotland Caroline Gardner said the board was in an “extremely challenging” position as it attempts to save £200 million in the next five years.
Figures for the last year show Tayside has the best A&E wait time performance in Scotland and that targets for youth mental health services were “consistently achieved”.
About 93% of patients rated their care as excellent or good.
However, Tayside has the largest property footprint in Scotland and spends more than other boards on medicines and costly agency staff.
Professor John Connell, chairman of the health service, told the public patients are “at the heart of everything we do” — but that some things had to change.
He said: “Tayside has been spending a little more than its share of NHS funding in Scotland.
“If we continue to spend as we have at present, we will run into serious difficulties. The status quo is really not an option for us.”
NHS workers and several members of the public lashed out over issues within Tayside’s mental health services. A consultation on centralising inpatient services at Carseview has just concluded.
Amanda McLaren, whose son Dale Thomson’s death is the subject of a fatal accident inquiry after he died having been discharged from Carseview, attended the meeting.
She laid into Prof Connell, chief executive Lesley McLay, health secretary Shona Robison and NHS Scotland boss Paul Gray over mental health services at Carseview — branding them a “joke”.
She said: “Have any of you actually been in there and seen what goes on? You should hang your heads in shame because it’s diabolical.”
Keith Russell, associate nurse director for mental health, said that the experience for those using mental health services is “sometimes not as good as it should be”.
After the meeting, Amanda told the Tele: “If people in crisis need mental health help, they need it now and not weeks later.
“The NHS have admitted failings but unless they listen, nothing will change. They’re living in cloud cuckoo land.”
Several people expressed fears over inpatient mental health services being centralised in Dundee, with proposals to move units to the city from Brechin and Perth.
Valerie Lane, who travelled from Arbroath, said: “They are trying to bring these services to Carseview. That doesn’t work and it shouldn’t happen.”
Prof Connell said 94% of mental health patients were dealt with outside of hospitals.
Ms Robison added: “Mental health has become an absolutely critical issue. Early invention is really important and one of the changes is to do more between CAMHS in communities and counselling services to make sure there is a ‘ask once get help’ approach.”
North-East MSP Jenny Marra asked bosses to repeat a reassurance previously given to the Tele that jobs will be protected as the board continues to struggle with financial problems.
Prof Connell responded: “There is no threat and there never has been a threat of redundancies.”
NHS Scotland chief Paul Gray said that staff are not paid bonuses.
But he said senior staff are awarded annual “incremental” pay boosts based on their performance. Mr Gray said: “Bonuses are not paid.”
Mr Gray said he would obtain and provide details of senior management pay.