NHS pay out over £ 2.2m in over­time

Staff needed to care for pa­tients

Ayrshire Post - - Intimations - Abi Smil­lie

NHS Ayr­shire and Ar­ran forked out a whop­ping £ 2.2mil­lion in over­time for nurses and mid­wives.

The health au­thor­ity were the fifth high­est spenders across the whole of Scot­land in 2016/ 17, new data shows.

More than £ 26m was paid out across the coun­try, with Ayr­shire and Ar­ran’s ex­pen­di­ture sit­ting at £ 2,237,847.

Tory MSP John Scott said: “The fact that such a sub­stan­tial sum has had to be spent on over­time clearly un­der­lines how badly the job of NHS work­force plan­ning has been done over re­cent years. Of course, forced with a choice be­tween pay­ing out this money in over­time and hav­ing gaps in staff cov­er­age, the health au­thor­ity has done the only thing it can.

“But it’s equally clear that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment needs to ur­gently ad­dress work­force is­sues so the need for over­time pay­ments on this scale can be avoided in fu­ture.”

Pro­fes­sor Hazel Bor­land, NHS Ayr­shire and Ar­ran’s nurse di­rec­tor said: “While we would pre­fer to staff our wards with­out the use of over­time, it is im­por­tant we have enough staff to care for pa­tients at all times.

“This can mean that at times, there­fore, it is nec­es­sary to use over­time to en­sure that pa­tient safety is not com­pro­mised.

“Ex­am­ples in­clude cov­er­ing pe­ri­ods of ab­sence or times of higher than nor­mal clin­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

“Many of our nurs­ing staff also choose to join our ‘ Nurse Bank’, a bank of staff avail­able and will­ing to work over and above their ex­ist­ing con­tract of em­ploy­ment.

“This ar­range­ment pro­vides a flex­i­ble way of pro­vid­ing short term ser­vice cover, mainly for un­planned ab­sences.

“We mon­i­tor the use of over­time to en­sure that it is not be­ing used in cir­cum­stances that would merit a per­ma­nent post.”

The health au­thor­ity has done the only thing it can

Hazel Bor­land “It is im­por­tant we have enough staff to care for pa­tients at all times.”

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