Scottish Labour slams SNP over “sky high” rates paid to NHS agency staff

27th October, 2016 1:23 pm

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The SNP’s shocking mismanagement of the NHS in Scotland, including a massive bill for agency staff, has been revealed by a new report today.

The NHS in Scotland has been underfunded and has a workforce crisis while health boards face hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts, according to the NHS in Scotland 2016 report.

Labour MSPs have submitted an emergency question to the SNP administration in Holyrood, requesting a statement on the report. It is particularly embarrassing for the SNP because first minister Nicola Sturgeon was previously Health Secretary.

The report by Audit Scotland reveals:

  • Funding is not reacting to increased demand and patient needs.
  • Just one of eight key performance targets for the NHS was met last year.
  • A workforce crisis leading to £175m spent on agency staff.
  • Agency consultants making the equivalent of £400,000 per year.
  • Funding shortfalls for some health boards of tens of millions of pounds.
  • Cuts to healthcare including to acute services.

Anas Sarwar, Labour health spokesman, said “the scale of mismanagement in our health service revealed by this report is utterly staggering. On every key test the SNP is failing.”

“This report reveals that under the SNP the workforce crisis in our NHS is so bad that private consultants can make the equivalent of £400,000 a year in our health service. Last year our NHS was forced to spend £175m on agency staff making sky high rates.”

“The SNP called Labour ‘liars’ when we said local health services were under threat – this paper confirms that under the SNP, the NHS is facing a cuts bombshell with key services facing the axe.”

Writing for LabourList, Sarwar describes the NHS as being in “distress”, and lays out his alternative vision. He says: “Labour would do things differently. We would end the sticking plaster solutions of the SNP and use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in social care to take the pressure off our hospitals and NHS staff.”

Labour would “introduce amendments to the Scottish budget to include a penny for public services on income tax so we can stop the cuts and invest instead.”

Highlighting Labour’s proud history of founding the NHS, he stated that “we will fight every day to protect our NHS: it is in our DNA.”

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