AN OVERSPEND on health and social care services in Argyll and Bute has reached almost £1 million in six months – and is predicted to double by the end of the financial year in March.

The figures are revealed in a report by Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership [HSCP] to the organisation's integration joint board [IJB].

HSCP head of finance Judy Orr has reported that the overspend, as of September 30, stood at £911,000 – an increase of nearly half a million on two months earlier.

An overspend of £1.163m on social work services has been offset by an underspend of £253,000 on health services.

It is now forecast that the HSCP will have overspent by £1.989m by the end of the financial year – £1.671m on social work and £318,000 on health.

Ms Orr’s report went before the IJB at its meeting at Argyll and Bute Council’s headquarters in Lochgilphead on Wednesday, November 27.

READ MORE: Finance report reveals new fears over Argyll and Bute public services

She said on the year to date position: “Within health delivered services, the underspend is mainly due to successful appeal of rateable values, following the last revaluation, rebates received, increased income following implementation of revised tariffs, and vacancy savings.

“There are overspends on adult services, linked to savings not being achieved in addition to increased costs for agency/locum staff and GP prescribing.

“There is also an overspend as we have not yet met our target for slippage on budget reserves which includes one-off in-year allocations.

“The net underspend has increased by £54,000 since the end of August, mainly due to the increased income, offset by further overspend on adult services west following a similar pattern to earlier in the year.

“Within social work, the overspend has increased in the month by £493,000. The overspends are mainly on adult services.

“Children and families overall has an underspend of £115,000.”

READ MORE: Accountant's report exposes 'unreliable and irrelevant' information on Argyll and Bute social work costs

The report also states that halfway through the financial year, slightly less than 50 per cent of planned savings have been delivered.

But only 68 per cent, a total of £7.1m out of £10.523m, are forecast to be complete by the end of the financial year.

Previous board papers had indicated that the shortfall for social work was due to increased slippage, and that more was anticipated.

Ms Orr added: “The shortfall for social work is £2.173m. This has increased from £1.251m at the end of August as expected.

“The shortfall for health of £1.24m has increased compared to the position at end of August by £150,000, because of delays with bed closure at Dunoon.

“However, savings are being made in this area through vacancies which are reflected in both forecast and year to date, but as they are non-recurring, these have not been declared as savings.

READ MORE: 'When will we get our social care cash back?', asks councillor

“In September, £123,000 of savings have been achieved, with £100,000 of these on closure of the West House/Argyll and Bute Hospital site.

“As previously indicated, the main risk relates to delivery of the new savings agreed for 2019/20 where actions are still underway.

“The health savings are being tracked through the project management office approach co-ordinated by NHS Highland which includes greater visibility of progress against agreed milestones.

“This approach is now in the process of being rolled out to social work savings through the finance team.”

READ MORE: Click here to catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines