Health boards in Scotland could face a £134m funding “black hole”, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.
The “black hole” could be created through changes in the way Scottish government cash is allocated, they claimed.
But the Lib Dem charge was rejected by health secretary Nicola Sturgeon as “scaremongering”. She pledged that no health board would lose out as a result of the changes.
The row erupted after a report on NHS finances by spending watchdog Audit Scotland.
The government has pledged that health boards that received more than their fair share under the old system would not suffer cuts under the new system.
Seizing on figures in the report, Lib Dem health spokesman Ross Finnie demanded to know if this commitment still stood.
“Using Audit Scotland figures, we can reveal that the NHS could face a £133.9m funding black hole” he said. “NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde alone faces a £51.4m cut.
“The government’s own auditors don’t know where the additional funding to fill this gap would come from.”
“Audit Scotland were concerned that frontline services could be cut to fund the £200m efficiency savings, so finding an extra £133.9m on top of this could be seriously bad news for vital patient services.”
But Ms Sturgeon said: “This is ill-informed scaremongering, because in reality the NHS budget is rising next year in real terms to a record £11.347bn.”
She said the Audit Scotland figures showed the hypothetical share-out if the new funding mechanism were brought in tomorrow.
“But we are not doing that - we are phasing in the new funding arrangements over a number of years and our commitment that no NHS board would lose out remains very much the case.”
All boards would get a standard increase while some who got less than their fair share would receive extra cash on top, she said.