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Scotland's biggest health board left with 36m bill to plug shortage of nurses last year

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde paid the staggering sum for & lsquo;bank nurses’ who provided more than 2,000,0000 hours of care over the past 12 months.

Union chiefs claimed the huge cost reflected a staffing crisis and accused the health board of over-relying on temporary workers.

Matt McLaughlin, regional organiser for Unison, said: “It’s simply not good enough that the NHS in Glasgow is reliant on bank contracts to this extent and that the reliance is increasing year on year.

“Spending &pound36m on bank staffing underlines just how big the staffing crisis is. Politicians and health board bosses need to get real if we are to avoid a major catastrophe.”

Figures have shown & lsquo;bank nurses’, those who step in to cover gaps on wards, worked for 2,171,665 hours in 2013-14, compared to 1,878,409, the year before.

The &pound36m bill signals a &pound4m year-on-year increase in costs to NHS GGC.

Mr McLauighlin said: “These figures suggest that in any one week the Glasgow health board could be as many as 1,000 members of staff short in the workplace.”

He added: “The over reliance on bank nurses and consistent short staffing in wards and clinical areas has a direct impact on patient care.”

Earlier this year it emerged the NHS across Scotland spent &pound118.2m on hiring temporary staff from a bank of nurses or agency workers in 2013-14.

A spokesman for NHS GCC said: “We operate a very successful nurse bank which ensures that there are no gaps in staffing levels due to vacancies or unplanned leave.

“In addition we have also increased our permanent staffing levels over the past couple of years and the use of bank staff sits at arounf 5% to 6% year on year of our total nursing workforce.”

He added: “The staff bank means the NHS does not have to turn to expensive agencies when temporary staff are required at short notice.”

By Dan Warburton – Daily Record

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