Cash-strapped health board bosses were forced to borrow from the Scottish Government to stay out of the red.
NHS Forth Valley blames the cost pressures associated with completing the switch of services from Stirling Royal to its showpiece £300 million Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for having to take out the loan to pay its bills.
During the phased transfer of staff and equipment it had to double its running costs and also fund pay-off packages for employees who opted to take early retirement.
Latest figures from Audit Scotland reveal it was one of three health boards that needed to be bailed out as the NHS struggles to make savings of £271 million this year - with the repayments putting extra strain on their budgets.
The public spending watchdog said the support packages received were not clearly shown on the accounts of Forth Valley, Fife and Orkney which between them received more than £7 million.
A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley confirmed: “We received some additional funding support from the Scottish Government over the last two years. This was used to cover the extra running costs associated with the phased transfer of services to the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital and to manage a voluntary severance programme which will deliver future savings. The funding will be repaid over the next four years. Details of this funding support were highlighted in our annual accounts for 2011/12.”
Royal College of Nursing Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said savings targets were becoming increasingly unrealistic. She said: “We need brave decisions to be taken to ensure an affordable and high-quality NHS. This can only be achieved if Government and health boards are more open with the public about what money is available and where it is being spent.”
Health Secretary Alex Neil claimed: “We are committed to protecting spending on heralth and our latest £11.5 billion budget reflects a funding increase in real terms.”