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GROWING NHS AGENCY COSTS HIGHLIGHT FAILURE OF SNP GOVERNMENT WORKFORCE PLANNING

New figures revealing the growing reliance on agency workers by local NHS boards has exposed a decade of failure in workforce planning by the SNP Government according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

The figures in a recent Parliamentary question show that in South Scotland spending on Agency staff has grown significantly since the SNP came to power in 2007.

Commenting on the figures Colin Smyth said, “These figures expose the utter failure of the SNP Government over the past decade when it comes to workforce manage in the NHS. They have failed to train enough doctors and nurses and as a result local NHS boards simply can’t fill posts”.

“Through no fault of their own, local Health Boards are having to turn to agencies to get temporary staff. Given that the agencies charge a premium and the companies who employ the nurses and doctors take a fee, this is hugely expensive for the NHS. The Government needs to tackle this crisis before it cripples our NHS by restricting agency fees and giving our NHS staff a proper pay rise to make the huge number of vacancies we have more attractive. Ultimately we need to see proper workforce planning so we have enough trained staff to fill posts.”

Colin Smyth criticised the comments of Conservative politicians on the issue, accusing them of being partly responsible for the crisis. Colin Smyth added, “It’s a bit rich of Conservative politicians to complain about the increasing use of agencies staff when they are partly responsible for the crisis. As a result of brexit, healthcare professionals from other parts of the EU have simply stop applying for jobs with the NHS in the UK because of the uncertainty over whether they would be even allowed to stay here.  In addition, one of the biggest reasons many people with partners don’t apply for jobs in the NHS in rural areas is the lack of other jobs locally for their partners making it difficult to move to the area. This has been exasperated by the policy of austerity by the UK Government which has cut the number of public sector jobs by thousands”.

 

Full details of the Parliamentary Answer

Answered by Shona Robison (06/02/2018):

Agency spend figures for each NHS Board are only available from 2006-7 to 2016-17 and are given in the following table. Information on NHS Board spend on bank staff is not held centrally.

Agency Spend by NHS Board (in £’000) (South Scotland Health Boards only showed in this extract

Health Board Area which wholly or partly cover South Scotland

2016-17

2015-16

2014-15

2013-14

2012-13

2011-12

2010-11

2009-10

2008-9

2007-8

2006-7

Ayrshire & Arran

13,609

10,148

5,889

6,234

4,288

4,474

5,052

6,015

5,551

6,395

6,637

Borders

5,067

3,708

2,977

4,045

2,075

1,501

1,572

1,559

1,394

1,455

1,358

Dumfries & Galloway

10,686

9,907

8,465

5,691

4,965

4,012

4,034

4,034

2,314

3,105

2,523

Lanark

14,952

16,128

8,540

6,491

5,864

4,541

4,635

6,048

5,867

4,355

3,843

Lothian

19,141

26,743

25,700

26,679

25,545

22,539

20,325

18,582

16,878

13,794

17,588

 

Full answer can be viewed here:

http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S5W-14089&ResultsPerPage=10

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