Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has promised that no NHS board will see a cut in its budget if a proposed new funding formula is adopted.

The independent NHS Scotland resource allocation committee has drawn up a new system to replace the Arbuthnott formula that currently determines funding.

The new formula determines budget share for each of the 14 boards by looking at the needs of small areas called 'datazones' - around 6,500 across the country.

It is more sensitive to the costs of treating the very young and old and attempts to find ways of reflecting the extra costs of delivering services in deprived, rural and remote areas.

Some NHS boards would see significant changes. Five would see their share of funding drop by at least 3 per cent while NHS Lothian would get a 5 per cent higher share with Lanarkshire and Forth Valley also experiencing increases.

Ms Sturgeon said the proposal would be considered in the context of the forthcoming spending review.She said: 'I can confirm that if we decide to make any adjustments in health boards' relative funding, no board would receive less funding than it does at present and any changes will be phased in over a number of years.'