FIFE Health and Social Care services are being underfunded, it was claimed this week.

The financial sustainability of health and social care boards, which have responsibility for delivering a wide range of services ranging from home care, GP services through to community hospitals and mental health services, has been called into question in a report published by the Accounts Commission this week.

Kelty based Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Alex Rowley, used the report to highlight the financial pressures in Fife and said that unless more funding is made available, services will not be able to meet the growing demands being placed on them.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament the Labour politician said 'community care cannot be about care on the cheap and must be properly funded'.

He said that in Fife, 'bed blocking is on the increase, waiting lists for people living at home and in need of care support is growing whilst the local health and social care board is heading towards an £8 million overspend'. The Board, made up of councillors and health professionals, is funded through Fife Council and NHS Fife, both of which have had to deal with cuts in their budgets.

Commenting on the report, Alex Rowley said: “In Fife we have seen the impact of cuts on council budgets at a time when we desperately need more investment in local services.

“Most worrying of all is the chronic underfunding of health and social care across Scotland. Families will have experienced this directly when trying to find access to community services and increasingly finding it more and more difficult to get the support and services they need.

“This report should be a warning to the Scottish Government to bring about greater transparency to the funding of health and social care and address the huge funding gaps that currently exist.

“If we can’t solve the problems of financial sustainability in health and social care quickly then we will have an even greater crisis on our hands. The Scottish Government must take action to address these issues in their budget to be published in the next few weeks.”

The Scottish Government's Finance Minister, Derek Mackay, is working on the budget and will be addressing a number of issues such as health spending in his package to be delivered early in December.