Major cuts will be needed by NHS Forth Valley as it faces an eye-watering £55million funding gap next year with costs needing to be driven down.

That was the blunt message from Director of Finance, Scott Urquhart at Tuesday’s board meeting at Carseview House.

He said unfunded contingency beds were costing too much and were causing huge financial pressures with an increase in workforce costs.

Supplementary staff were also adding to the bills and had to be reduced, along with cover for vacancies, he said.

Mr Urquhart revealed that the forecast overspend for this year had fallen from £15.6m to £10.3m and that the savings plan of £25m was on track to being delivered.

The Finance Director said: “There has been a 40 per cent increase in the supplementary bank agency staff costs. We have also had high inflation rates and that has caused a lot of unavoidable initial costs on some of our bigger contracts and we saw additional costs of medicines through price and volume.

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