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Additional £1.1bn funds for frontline NHS care

More than £1.1 billion has been invested in frontline care over the past five years, thanks to efficiency savings in the NHS, according to a report.

Last year, health boards across Scotland managed to save £270 million - beating their target of making savings of 3%.

Health Secretary Alex Neil praised NHS staff for finding "innovative ways" of saving cash as he confirmed the health service was on track to meet its efficiency target for this year.

Savings have been made by measures such as reducing bureaucracy and improving practices to free up more time for patient care.

A new IT system to manage patient transport has helped the Scottish Ambulance Service save more than £2.5m while a change in practices at Hairmyres Hospital has led to 52% of patients seen by a cardiologist in the accident and emergency department be discharged, rather than wait to be transferred to a cardiology ward.

Portable oxygen cylinders have saved NHS Scotland £600,000 and allowed patients to be more mobile.

Speaking after the savings were revealed in the Quality and Efficiency Support Team (QuEST) annual report, Mr Neil said: "This report shows us that NHS boards are continuing to find new and innovative ways to save money to reinvest in frontline services - where it is needed most. By reinvesting this money we are able to deliver real changes for patients, like investing in our workforce to see Scotland have more qualified nurses per head of population than England."

He added: "While we are striving to become more efficient with taxpayers' money we remain committed to protecting spending on health and our latest £12.1bn resource budget reflects a funding increase in real terms for both 2014-15 and 2015-16."

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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