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Overtime bill for nurses exposes SNP’s workforce chaos

24 Feb 2018

Miles Choice Landscape

More than £26 million was paid in overtime to nurses and midwives last year, as the NHS buckles under the impact of SNP mismanagement.

Staff shortages in hospitals across the country have forced thousands of staff to put in extra hours, costing the NHS an additional £500,000 a week.

And while the figures – obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information – have reduced slightly from last year, they are still significantly higher than in 2014/15 when overtime cost £21.7 million.

Health boards are experiencing significant staff shortages, and nursing vacancies reached a record high last year.

Scotland’s biggest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, spent £8.8 million on nursing and midwifery overtime in 2016/17.

Other big spenders included NHS Grampian (£3.7 million), NHS Tayside and NHS Lanarkshire (both £2.8 million).

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:

“Nurses already have a tough job without being roped in for overtime, and they should be commended for going the extra mile.

“But the sheer scale of the cost here exposes just how badly the SNP has planned the NHS workforce over recent years.

“It shouldn’t have been a surprise that Scotland’s population has increased and aged, yet the SNP government was caught flat-footed.

“Now health boards are having to shell out tens of millions in overtime payments just to plug the gaps.

“The SNP cannot blame anyone else for this. It is in sole charge of health, has been for more than a decade, and should have solved this problem long before now.”