South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has revealed that spending on private providers for procedures at NHS Dumfries and Galloway has increased in the last three years.

Figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request shows that in 2017/18 £532,048 was paid to private providers to carry out operations and procedures. This was an 858% increase from the £55,578 paid to private providers in 2015/16.

Colin Smyth MSP believes that this shows the extreme pressure being faced by the local health board because of staff shortages and growing waiting lists.

Colin Smyth said, “Historically Dumfries and Galloway Health Board have had very low spend on private health providers, partly for geographical reasons and the fact there are very few private hospitals within easy travel distance from the regions. However, it is mainly because there has been the staff and resources to deliver the care people need within the NHS. These figures show that now, in order to hit the waiting time targets set by the Government our local health board increasingly has to turn to expensive private providers to deliver treatment”.

“The NHS is our most valued public service. Taxpayers in Dumfries and Galloway don’t want our health service to be used as a cash cow to boost the profits of private companies. The only way to cut private spending is for the SNP Government to start to tackle the NHS recruitment crisis we face and ensure we have the staff and resources in our local NHS hospitals to deliver the care patients locally need.”

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