Rising nurse agency and medical locum costs for NHS Dumfries and Galloway expose the failure of the SNP Government in tackling the NHS recruitment crisis, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

As a result of not being able to recruit to posts, the local NHS has been forced to increase the use nurse agencies and medical locums to fill gaps. The financial report to a meeting on NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Board yesterday (Monday 3rd December) showed that nurse agency costs are already sitting at £547,000. This is the reported cost until month 7 of the financial year. The papers also report that the entire nurse agency cost for the previous financial year was £278,000.

The papers also show that medical locum costs are estimated to be £800,000 over and above forecast.

The financial reports also show that to break even by the end of this financial year the health board are planning to use £758,000 of their £2million contingency reserves.

Colin Smyth MSP said, “The financial strain that the NHS recruitment crisis is causing on our local health service is now clear for all to see. We have already seen the impact that recruitment crisis has had on local services – particularly in the Galloway Community Hospital and local GP services.

The news that NHS Dumfries and Galloway are expected to use over a third of their contingency funds just to break-even needs to be a wakeup call to the SNP Government who are failing to fund our local NHS properly. Once reserves are used to plug the gap, this money is gone forever, and that is not a financially sustainable position for health boards to be in.”

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