SCOTTISH health boards are battling a financial crisis with radical cuts being considered to avoid plunging into debt.

Leaked papers have revealed NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has to slash spending by £1 million every week to stay in budget and is considering axing jobs and hospitals to save money.

A rehabilitation hospital saved by Nicola Sturgeon, the homeopathic hospital, a children's ward, nursing posts and a wide range of other jobs are potentially under threat.

But it is not the only health board fighting a massive overspend. NHS Lothian is struggling to break-even this financial year and predicting a need to save £84m next year to stay in the black.

The director of finance for NHS Lanarkshire Laura Ace has said the board estimates they will have to save five per cent of their budget in 2016-17 and is "working through the implications of this".

Concerns about unsustainable spending in NHS Tayside and a gap between costs and the available budget in NHS Highland have already been raised by Audit Scotland.

Matt McLaughlin, regional organiser for the trade union Unison, said: "We have a financial and beds crisis right across Scotland. While Glasgow's might be particularly acute in that the figure is £60m, if you can extrapolate that across the whole of Scotland I think you probably get an indication of what we are looking at."

Staff representatives have expressed concern that patient care and staff welfare will be affected by the "shopping list" of proposals being considered to save money in NHS GGC.

However, there was also some sympathy for the position of health boards who are obliged to stay within budget by the Scottish Government and deliver their policies and promises.

Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said: "I genuinely feel for chief executives because they are trying to balance the books and they do not have the money."

The papers from NHS GGC note Glasgow's acute hospitals are overspending by £1m a month "largely propping up services in terms of staffing to ensure we deliver the national (government waiting times) targets."

It also says £5m from the Scottish Government to provide extra beds is not being continued.

Key priorities for modernising services are listed, but the papers add "the financial and policy constraints within which we are working mean we are not able to coherently move forward..."

The board needs to save £60m to stay in budget in 2016-17, according to the papers, but some savings have already been identified leaving £48m to find.

Redundancies and leaving consultant vacancies unfilled for three months are among the strategies being considered. The paper says: "Workforce is our biggest cost, to deliver this savings target we need to reduce the numbers of staff we have..." It continues: "We need to reshape services and reduce sites and facilities to deliver our savings but maintain services to patients."

Targets include emergency care at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Dunbartonshire, the paediatric ward in Paisley, the Centre for Integrative Care, which is also known as the homeopathic hospital, and Lightburn Hospital. The latter was spared in 2011 after then Health Secretary Ms Sturgeon intervened.

Increasing the number of patients district nurses, health visitors and other professionals fit into their day, then cutting the total number of staff, is also up for consideration.

Jackie Baillie, public services spokeswoman for Scottish Labour and MSP for Dumbarton, said: “This secret paper contains plans that would devastate local health services in my constituency and across the whole of the west of Scotland."

In a statement NHS GGC said they operate in a climate of rising demand and increasing treatment costs, adding: "Clearly not all of the (savings) schemes being considered will be implemented, but as a board it would be remiss of us to exclude potential areas without proper and full consideration.

"Any significant service change will only be implemented following full engagement with the public and trades unions."

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the paper was drafted before a "substantial increase in NHS funding" was announced in December and the board is to receive a record budget.

She continued: “Absolutely none of the points in the paper have been formally put forward for consideration. Any major service change would need approval from the Scottish Government and we've received no requests from the board.

“We’re clear with health boards that they need to design services that meet the needs of the local population. We have been consistently clear that we are committed to maintaining and improving services at both the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Vale of Leven – for example, including sustaining emergency services at the Vale."