Cole-Hamilton: NHS vacancies jeapordising care and costing the public purse


Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today criticised the Scottish Government for failing to make progress on filling “persistent” vacant posts across the NHS, causing agency spending to spiral.

ISD Scotland statistics today showed:

  • 5.0% of nursing and midwifery posts were vacant at the end of March 2019. 901 had been vacant for more than three months – up from 636 at the end of last year.
  • 7.8% of medical and dental consultant posts were vacant. 245 had been vacant for six months or more.

NHS Scotland spent £26.2 million on nursing and midwifery agency staff during the last financial year. This represents an increase of 10.9% in comparison to 2017/18.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“Persistent vacancies across the NHS are making life difficult for hardworking NHS staff and jeopardising patient care.

“The SNP Government has made a hash of NHS staffing and are still delaying and delaying their workforce plans. As a result, doctors and nurses are being forced to pick up the slack in under-resourced teams and the taxpayer is having to cover huge bills for agency staff to paper over the SNP’s mistakes.

“The Liberal Democrats want to see the Health Secretary publish an annual report on workforce planning and lead an annual debate on it at Parliament. That way future problems can be spotted and sorted out before they happen, and health professionals won’t be the ones left to pick up the pieces.”


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