South Scotland Labour MSP has said that NHS Dumfries and Galloway will spend over £10 million on medical locums in Financial Year 2018/19, exposing the extent of the NHS recruitment crisis.
The claim comes as Reports to a meeting of NHS Dumfries and Galloway Board on the 8th of April 2019, show that in the first eleven months of the Financial Year the health board spent £9.8 million on medical locums. This is an increase of 11% in the same period in the previous financial year.
With still one month of the Financial Year to be reported to the Board it is clear that medical locum costs will exceed £10 million.
The same report also showed Nurse Agency Costs have cost the health board £842,000 in the first eleven months of the Financial Year. That figure was a 203% increase on the Nurse agency costs to the Health Board in the whole of the previous Financial Year.
Colin Smyth said, “These figures reveal that the NHS recruitment crisis is not only impacting on patient care but also the finances of our local NHS board. Often the local NHS can even secure the services of a locum to cover for a permanent job they can’t fill which means patients face unacceptable waiting times. When they manage to find a locum the costs to the local NHS can be eyewatering. That’s unfair to permanent staff and takes resources away from services but the local NHS have no choice but to pay the going rate or they simply won’t find temporary staff.
We have seen the impact of the recruitment crisis at GP level across the region such as in Lockerbie and Moffat and with vacancies at the new Royal infirmary. I am aware of woman having to wait a year to see a physiotherapist in Dumfries compared previous waits of just a few weeks.
With nursing agency costs also rapidly increasing, it shows that the recruitment crisis is affecting all medical professions across Dumfries and Galloway.
The SNP Scottish Government created this recruitment crisis due to their utter failure to put in place enough training places yet their actions to try to fix it simply do not go far enough.
Given that the Scottish Government created this crisis they should provide the extra funding needed to pay the extra locum and agency staff costs until they put in place the adequate training places needed to train the staff we need to permanently fill the vacancies”.