The board of cash strapped NHS Highland have given the go-ahead for officers to talk to the Scottish Government about a potential £15 million bail out.
With an unprecedented target of £48 million of savings this year, the board was told a £15 million overspend was likely by the end of the financial year in March, a reduction of £1.8 million of a £16.8m overspend forecast in November.
Health boards are not allowed to end the financial year in deficit but they can negotiate "brokerage" from the government which has to be repaid.
Dave Garden, NHS Highland’s interim finance director, said: "The main element (of overspend) is potential failure to deliver savings of £11.6 million with the remainder being cost pressures particularly with adult social care budgets."
Mr Garden said there would also be discussion with the government on their planned development of a longer term recovery plan, underpinned by a detailed operational plan which will clearly articulate the models of care, over a rolling three year period. This will be overlaid with a supporting financial plan, workforce plan and property strategy.
Raigmore Hospital is projected to have a £9.5 million overspend, £1.5 million of which relates to continued overspends on drugs with the rest from the non-delivery of previously assumed savings and cost reduction programmes.