Spending on bank and agency nurses soars

 

Last year, health boards spent £158 million paying for extra nurses to cover shifts, £12.5 million more than in 2014/15.

The ISD Scotland report also showed that bank nurses covered more than 8.3 million hours in hospitals, while expensive agency nurses worked for more than 500,000 hours.

That’s also a steep rise on previous years; in 2009/10 bank and agency nurses accounted for 7.2 million hours at a cost of £106 million.

The Scottish Conservatives said the enormous spend showed the SNP wasn’t properly staffing hospital wards, and more cash was needed for permanent workers.

The party was also critical of the Scottish Government’s failure to train enough new nurses or plan for a retirement boom among nurses and midwives over the next decade.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Donald Cameron said:

“This is a clear indication that there are not enough staff to cover Scotland’s wards.

“Everyone accepts there will be time when cover needs to be called in, and that it comes at a price.

“But for millions of hours to be covered by non-permanent members of staff is quite incredible.

“It’s the Scottish Government’s responsibility to ensure the NHS is properly funded so it is properly staffed.

“But health boards being forced to shell out millions on emergency cover proves the SNP is not doing enough.”