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Politicians Clash Over Pay
Staff shortages in NHS Lanarkshire saw a sharp rise in overtime payments to consultants – with one receiving nearly £136,000 in additional earnings.
The figures obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed NHS Lanarkshire overtime payments to consultants rose from £1.8m in 2013/2014 to £3.4m in 2015/16.
Across Scotland the figure rose from £14.27m to £20.92m.
The British Medical Association said the issue stemmed from staff shortages.
While the number of consultants retiring and posts not being filled has also been cited as an area of concern.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Donald Cameron claimed a “mini retirement boom” amongst consultants left many consultant vacancies unfilled in Scotland – with almost half remaining open for over six months.
And Central Scotland List MSP Graham Simpson, who also raised concerns about the number of nurses and midwives nearing retirement age, has accused the SNP of failing to deal with staffing levels within the NHS.
He said: “These figures are staggering. The SNP are out of excuses. I am sick of their constitutional distractions. They have been elected to govern Scotland and they are not doing it. Retirements and staffing numbers are predictable and should be planned for.
“They haven’t been and so we are left counting the cost. It’s not good enough. Instead of whingeing and whining we need the need the SNP to step up the plate and do their job properly.”
However, East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani said: “The Scottish Government continues to provide people with the high quality of health care they deserve. Since 2006, the number of consultants, nurses and midwives has risen significantly – locally and nationally.
“We have to remember that whilst some vacancies may be hard to fill, there are sickness and maternity reasons for staff being paid overtime, too.
“Broken down, only three per cent of consultant medical staff payments is spent on such payments.
“Going forward, I am pleased the Scottish Government is launching a national co-ordinated programme to more effectively manage temporary staffing, which will undoubtedly assist with the implementation of these payments and give greater scope for staff to work in different areas on NHS pay scales.”
An NHS Lanarkshire spokesperson said: “The payment of £135,820 was necessary to meet waiting list initiatives at a time of pressure within the service due to staff vacancies.”