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Answers needed on spiralling NHS agency bill

May 27, 2014 5:14 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats have criticised the SNP Government after Jim Hume MSPJim Hume MSPfigures published today revealed that NHS spend on agency and bank staff has increased by around £17m in the past year.

The SNP Government has consistently failed to drive down costly agency and bank spending, which has increased by £37 million since 2010/11.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP said:

"It is ironic that the party which claims it has prevented privatisation of the NHS has brought it through the back door through a £37 million increase in spending on agency and bank workers. It seems Scotland's hard-working hospitals are being forced to resort to costly bank and agency staffing arrangements to meet increasing demand. We are now paying £127 million a year on a short-term fix to a long-term problem which is only going to worsen with time.

"Whilst there is always a place for bank and agency staff to cover short-term holidays or absences, this is £127 million which could be spent on beds or consultants. The Health Secretary needs to tell us what he's doing to keep these costs down."