NHS overtime shows staffing pressures

Staffing problems in the NHS seem to be getting worse, not better as new figures showed more than £20 million was paid in overtime to consultants in 2015/16.


There has been a £6 million increase on the 2013/14 figures. The Chair of BMA Scotland said a shortage of consultants was the issue and highlighted staffing problems in other parts of the NHS.

Dr Peter Bennie said, "The issue for us is - and has been for some time - that there are not enough consultants to do the job, and that actually applies across all branches of medicine, there is a similar problem with general practice."

I see these problems within West Edinburgh.

And despite years of warnings, Scotland still does not have the number of consultants that we need and health boards are facing paying eye-watering overtime rates as a result.

This is a long-standing problem that seems to be getting worse, not better. I know that whether we are talking about hospital consultants, GPs or other medical staff, too many parts of our NHS are facing a recruitment crisis.

Overtime is important in giving health boards flexibility where staff are ill or short-term cover is required. But it should be a last resort, not a first option and certainly not a replacement for recruiting full-time staff.

Ministers need to work with health boards to ensure that our NHS has the staff that it needs. 

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