A HUGE INCREASE has been recorded in the sums paid by Scottish health boards for the services of private agency nurses – including a massive leap in that paid by NHS Grampian.
During the last full year from 2015 to April 2016 the payout in Grampian leapt from just over £70,000 to almost £2million.
Now Scottish Labour are claiming that is down to huge vacancies remaining unfilled throughout the country – around 2200, including 292 mental health specialists. In a recent NHS staff survey only one third of those responding feel there is enough of them to do their jobs properly.
Moray Labour Health spokesperson, Councillor Sean Morton, said: “What we are seeing is a massively under-resourced NHS staff who are working harder and harder.
“While cutting NHS staff the SNP are presiding over huge increases in private agency staff. The SNP Government has simply lost control and have failed miserably when it comes to workforce planning.
“All of this money spent on agencies could be put to better use recruiting and supporting NHS nurses. This is all down to the SNP having absolutely no long term vision around our health service and our nurses today are being let down.
“When Nicola Sturgeon was Health Minister she cut training places for nurses and midwives and now that is coming back to haunt our hospitals.”
Nationwide the Scottish Labour health spokesperson, Anas Sarwar, said that the country was in the middle of “the biggest nursing crisis in the history of the NHS” – adding that the Health Minister appeared determined to “stick her head in the sand and deny a problem even exists”.
He added: “More than 2200 nursing vacancies is a shameful statistic, leaving our dedicated but over-worked and under-valued nursing staff under extreme pressure. This is not fair on staff and not fair on patients they are being asked to care for.
“The SNP need to listen to what our nurses are saying – only a third of NHS staff believe there are enough of them to do their jobs properly and barely 13% of nurses think the health service can cope.
“It’s high time SNP Health Minister Shona Robison got a grip on her portfolio. If she doesn’t believe me, she should ask staff herself or visit a hospital with me where we can hear first-hand about the impact of her government’s failures.