South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has backed calls to cap the fees agencies can charge the NHS for providing staff, as new figures revealed that spending on agency staff has risen by a massive 500% in Dumfries and Galloway since 2006.

Figures revealed by Scottish Labour showed that over £10 million was spent last year on agency and midwifery bank staff. Since 2006 agency spend has risen by over 400% from £2,523,000 in 2006 to £10,686,000 in 2017.

Scottish Labour has revealed that it will now use the SNP government’s forthcoming NHS safe staffing legislation to propose a cap on agency fees to stop private agencies profiting from the health service. 

The SNP government is developing a ‘safe staffing’ Bill for the health service to enshrine in law the principles of safe staffing in the NHS, starting with nursing and midwifery workforce planning. 

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “The soaring costs of agency spending for nursing and midwifery jobs in the past ten years shows the absolute mess the SNP government has made of workforce planning in the NHS.” 

“There are now shortages of staff in almost every area and as a result NHS Dumfries and Galloway has to spend over £10 million a year on agency staff- a rise of over 400%. The private agencies who provide the staff will be taking their cut and profiteering form the workforce crisis in our NHS. This is money which should be going to pay NHS staff that work all year round to provide health care for us.”

“That is why I am supporting moves to cap the amount of money a private agency can charge to provide staff, so the money put into our NHS is not used to support the profits of agencies but on providing the world class healthcare.”

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