Temporary NHS Shetland Staff Costs Rocket – Audit Scotland

NHS Shetland spent 24% more on temporary medical staff in 2014/15 than in 2013/14 says Audit Scotland. There has also been a 84% increase in spending on agency nursing staff. Shetland MSP Tavish Scott will raise this at today’s (Wednesday) Public Audit Committee meeting in the Scottish Parliament. A major Audit Scotland report has found that the NHS missed 7 of its 9 key waiting time targets in 2015. This says Audit Scotland, reflects a general decline in performance in recent years.

Speaking before the committee meeting Tavish Scott said:

‘‘This increase of 24% spent on temporary doctors and an increase of 84% on Agency Nursing staff is a big impact on NHS Shetland’s budget. Permanent appointments will not only be better value for money but will contribute to an improved standard of care. My recent health survey which 900 residents responded to, showed that while most residents never have to wait long for an appointment, many expressed dissatisfaction that they were often unable to see their preferred doctor. Just this week a constituent told me that she would wait until January to see her GP at the Lerwick Health Centre.

“Shetland needs the Scottish Government to accept the Audit Scotland findings on recruitment and retention of key medical staff. The Scottish Government only managed to add 35 new GPs to the workforce between 2009-2013. They must realise the seriousness of the situation. We need to see urgent action to help address the recruitment crisis and new resources to support primary care in Scotland. GPs are the first point of contact in our health service for nearly every Scot, and every person has the right to quick and quality treatment. I was very impressed by a recent visit to the Scalloway Health Centre. I listened carefully to the views of medical staff and GP’s.

‘‘Audit Scotland also indicate the financial pressure NHS Boards are under. That includes Shetland and I have every sympathy for them. So it will be important that when the Scottish Government decide its budget before Christmas, they make a serious investment in primary care that so many people depend on. The Scottish Government must ensure that NHS Shetland receives its fair share of funding. At present NHS Shetland is currently underfunded to the tune of nearly £900,000 by the Government’s own formula. It is vital that this shortage is addressed and to enable NHS Shetland to recruit more permanent staff.’’

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