Local MSP Jackie Baillie has warned about the sky-rocketing cost of private staff in our NHS following the publication of new figures which shed light on the increasing usage of agency nursing and midwifery staff.

Official NHS statistics reveal that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s spending on private staff has increased substantially for the third consecutive year. The number of private staff working in local NHS services has shot up by 112% in the last year alone and the total cost to the taxpayer has risen from £1.5 million last year to over £2.7 million today.

The local NHS board is spending millions of pounds to recruit staff from private agencies despite warnings from the experts at Audit Scotland that this is more expensive than hiring staff directly and puts patient safety at risk.

Jackie said:

“We have seen from the GP crisis and the unfilled junior doctor posts at the Vale of Leven Hospital that the SNP Government has utterly botched workforce planning in our NHS. Hospitals across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area are increasingly turning to expensive agency staff to deliver the care patients need.

“At a time when the NHS board is having to draw up plans to cut local health services, including at the Vale, in order to make £69 million savings it will leave a sour taste in the mouth that so much is being spent on private agency staff.

“The SNP Government in Edinburgh needs to make sure that money is being spent responsibly in our NHS.  Caring for patients shouldn’t be about lining shareholders pockets but that’s what this increase in agency staffing means.

“This is why under the SNP Government Ministers are managing crisis after crisis in our health service rather than managing for the long term

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