Edinburgh’s health and social care budget is expected to break even following positive progress by the city’s Integration Joint Board (EIJB) and its partners.

At a Board meeting today (Tuesday 22 October), members of the EIJB reported how the 2019/20 budget gap for health and social care services has significantly reduced from £21.5m at the start of the year to £3.9m, after work to bring in-year savings above target.

To support the EIJB’s financial framework going forward, members also endorsed a new three-year financial approach to move future spending in line with the ambitions of the Board’s Strategic Plan.

Approved in August this year, the board’s Strategic Plan outlines a vision for integrating council and NHS services to deliver an affordable, sustainable and trusted health and social care system for the people of Edinburgh.

Angus McCann, Chair of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board, said: “This is a challenging time for integration joint boards across the country and in Edinburgh we face greater growth than most. Demand for our services and those of our funding partners, the Council and NHS Lothian, is only set to increase as the city’s population grows and ages.

“Despite these pressures, we have been able to significantly reduce our budget gap. I’m now confident that we’ll reach a break-even position as a Board, positioning us well for the future challenges we’ll face.

The Chief Officer, Judith Proctor, added: “Integration Joint Boards were created to transform health and social care services in response to issues faced across the system and that is exactly what we’re doing. “Our priority as we do this will be to harness the resources we do have to respond to the pressures of growth, investing in those services which best support people to live the healthiest, safest and most independent lives they can in a homely setting.

“We will need to be flexible with our budgets so that we can move resources in a manner which best serves these aims. Therefore, we need an ambitious financial strategy to help us build on these commitments through positive transformation in the years ahead.