Managers in NHS Tayside are seeking millions of pounds of savings in an attempt to plug the gaps in its annual budget.
The health board must make £27 million of savings by the end of March – and has £3.6 million still to find.
High level meetings have been held in an attempt to address the situation, with possible areas for further cuts being explored.
NHS Scotland maintains a no compulsory redundancy policy so extra savings would have to be made through more efficiency savings.
Another possibility is that the NHS trust could reduce its overall expenditure by leaving existing posts unfilled.
After investigating the issues, bosses in Tayside believe that it could be possible for the savings to be made by reducing “waste and variation in our system”.
Commenting on the issue, a spokeswoman for NHS Tayside outlined some of the plans of the organisation.
“For 2015/2016, NHS Tayside has an efficiency savings target of £27 million. As at December 2015, we have identified £23.4 million of savings. As a board, NHS Tayside remains committed to a five-year programme of improvement and transformation which will sustain the delivery of person- centred, safe and effective treatment and care for all our patients and their families.”
The spokeswoman continued by outlining the areas in which management intends to save money.
“Through this programme we continue to focus on a number of key cost pressure areas where we are looking in detail at how we reduce waste and variation in our system. These areas include prescribing, procurement, our property plans and environments of care.”
The savings targets that bosses have made for NHS Tayside represent over 4 per cent of the annual general allocation of the board.
This level of saving is required in order for the organisation to break even.
The financial difficulties of Tayside have become obvious over the last few years, with the health organisation being forced to procure several massive loans.
In total, nearly £20 million of emergency government loans have been acquired in the last three years alone, and the NHS trust is still due to pay all of these back via property sales.
Commenting on the seriousness of the issue, Alison McInnes, the Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Scotland, indicated that the Scottish government must provide support to NHS Tayside in these troubling times.
“The health board has done well to identify such a significant proportion of the savings required given the continued tightening of the public belt but departments are likely to continue feeling the pinch. I just hope the Scottish Government is standing by it to make sure it receives the right resources at the right time so patient care isn’t compromised.”