MONEY for mental health and drug problems has been left unspent by some of Scotland’s health agencies, MSPs say.

Integration authorities (IAs) were established in 2016, bringing health and social care delivery together in a bid to cut costs and maximise results.

A total of 31 IAs are now responsible for services worth £8 billion a year. But a report released today says the agencies have taken key decisions “without assessing, or even possessing the ability to assess the relationship between the effectiveness of spending on outcomes”.

And despite allocating funds for tackling major issues like drug and alcohol misuse or mental health, some IAs have failed to spend this cash.

Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee, which has been probing IAs, has hit out at “unacceptable” failures in “leadership, direction and authority”.

Convener Lewis Macdonald said: “It is vital that the significant budget for health and social care is spent efficiently and effectively.

“It is unacceptable that this is not happening and the committee is calling on this to change.”

While there is a statutory requirement for IAs to report on how they had used resources to achieve improvements in health and wellbeing, the report found this is “not being done”.

With the Scottish Government working towards providing more care in the community outside of hospitals, the report found there had been a “modest shift” in the way budgets are spent in the short time that IAs have been in operation.

However, it said while there had been “progress in shifting the budgets towards community healthcare”, this appears to have been done “at the expense of family health services/prescribing and social care, rather than resulting from a reduction in hospital expenditure, which is showing an increased proportion of spend”.

The report continues: “To date, some IAs have spent less than the budget that has been allocated to these services. Given concerns raised regarding mental health service provision we find it difficult to understand why this is the case.”

And on reducing Scotland’s high level of drugs related deaths – which the committee said it is “very concerned” about – it states: “We believe a reduction in drug related deaths must be a priority area for the Scottish Government.”