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SNP must stop the dither and delay and sort out their skewed priorities - McInnes

July 17, 2011 12:01 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat Heath spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP has urged the Scottish Government to their skewed priorities in order.

Answers to written Parliamentary questions submitted by the Liberal Democrats reveal that while 711 nursing posts were cut in the 6 months to March of this year, the SNP were still paying out over £27 million in bonuses to NHS consultants in Scotland.

Since the SNP came to power in 2007, they have paid out £105 million in consultant bonuses.

While the Health Secretary emphasises that she has frozen the scheme for this year, just last year the SACDA approved 8 A+ Awards, 16 A Awards and 28 B Awards - worth almost £2.4million.

Alison McInnes has urged the SNP to sort out their distorted priorities and take decisive action on over-inflated NHS bonuses once and for all.

Commenting Mrs McInnes said:

"The SNP have got completely distorted priorities. While nursing posts are being cut left right and centre in Scotland, the SNP are still paying out a massive amount of money in consultant bonuses each year.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats are clear that the SNP need to get tough on bonuses, they have complete control over the situation.

"The Health Secretary needs to ask herself what sort of message this sends out to the public as they see frontline services being slashed right across Scotland.

"The Health Secretary made a huge show about freezing this scheme this year, saying no new awards would be created but this has barely scratched the surface. The SNP need to take much more decisive action.

"The SNP need to stop dithering and delaying and sort their skewed priorities out."

Notes

Please find attached Parliamentary questions

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Executive how much has been spent on consultants' distinction awards in each year since 2007.
(S4W-01160)
Ms Nicola Sturgeon :The total spend on distinction awards in Scotland in each financial year since 2007 is as follows:
FINANCIAL YEAR £
2007-08 24,164,310
2008-09 26,460,756
2009-10 27,961,798
2010-11 27,023,579

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Executive how many consultants' distinction award holders there are, broken down by award level.

(S4W-01161)
Ms Nicola Sturgeon : Information relating to the number of NHS consultants in Scotland in receipt of distinction awards, broken down at each level of award, can be found in the Scottish Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards (SACDA) Annual Report via the following link:

http://www.shsc.scot.nhs.uk/upload/file/national_committee_services/sacd...

For ease, the information is as follows:

As at September 2010, 578 NHS consultants held distinction awards comprising 52 A+, 166 A and 359 B award holders.

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to (a) scrap or (b) reduce the amount spent on consultants' distinction awards.

Ms Nicola Sturgeon : I have previously made clear my belief that the current award scheme needs reform in order to make it sustainable, fit for the future and value for money. The Scottish Government has already reduced the amount spent on distinction awards by introducing a freeze on the value of existing awards and suspending the making of any new awards. These measures resulted in a saving of just under £3m.
In August 2010 the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) agreed to undertake a UK-wide review of clinical excellence and merit awards (which includes distinction awards) and its recommendations are expected shortly. The Scottish Government will carefully consider the DDRB recommendations before deciding what further reforms are to be made.