Health board at 'high risk' of failing to break even
NHS Tayside has experienced significant financial issues in the last year.
NHS Tayside is at a "high risk" of being unable to balance its budget this year after missing cost-cutting targets, auditors have warned.
Audit Scotland found the health board has experienced significant financial issues in the last year.
Despite making £45.5m in efficiency savings in 2016/17, NHS Tayside missed its target by £1.3m, a report released on Tuesday said.
Over the last five years the health board received loan funding, known as brockerage, of £37.5m from the Scottish Government to help it break even.
A debt of £33.2m is outstanding, though the Scottish Government has suspended repayments.
The 2017/18 financial year is expected to have a funding gap of £49.8m but only £45.8m in savings have been planned, meaning an extra £4m in loans will be required.
In addition, £5m of the savings have yet to be identified or were considered "high risk" by Audit Scotland.
The auditor general, Caroline Gardner, said: "NHS Tayside continues to face an extremely challenging position which will make it difficult to achieve financial balance in the future.
"Some of the changes required to address these challenges will take time to fully implement.
"It's important that the board put in place a realistic action plan, accompanied by the capacity and resources required to deliver it."
Officials at the health board have recognised more significant savings will be needed in future.
Last year, the health board put a five-year transformation plan in place to brings its costs under control, with just over £200m in savings required over the time period.
NHS Tayside chairman Professor John Connell said: "NHS Tayside is continuing to respond to the twin challenges of continuing to deliver high-quality, safe and effective healthcare to our population, while redesigning our services so they are fit for the future.
"The board of NHS Tayside has always made it clear that it is committed to providing safe and effective healthcare, whilst acknowledging the challenges facing health services in the coming years.
"An ageing population, increasing demands on services and pressure on public finances means that the status quo for health and care services, both in Tayside and across Scotland, is not an option."