In an almost identical replica of their 9th February report, ‘NHS spent almost £500K a day on agency staff, report shows’ the Herald gave us today:
‘Concerns raised over NHS Scotland’s £26 million bill for nurses’ overtime. Health boards across the country shelled out an extra £500,000 a week to keep wards properly staffed, figures show.’
STV news offered us:
‘NHS boards across Scotland paid out more than £26m in overtime to nurses and midwives last year, new figures have revealed. The figures were released at the same time Scottish Labour bosses launched a consultation on how to tackle the “workforce crisis”.’
Once more, the texts were almost entirely made up of tabloid quotes from Tory and Labour representatives making the same scaremongering, context-free accusations of SNP failure to manage staffing in the NHS.
So, as they’re clearly too busy to research their story properly, I’ll do it, again. First, see this:
‘Almost half of the total operating costs (47.6% or £5.6bn) were accounted for by hospital and community sector staff, excluding laboratory staff.’
So, the £26 million on overtime is 0.46% of the total £5.6 billion staffing cost. Is that bad planning? Would it not be worse if more full-time staff were appointed such that no overtime was ever needed but the organisation was so overstaffed for much of the time that nurses had to play cards to stay awake? Isn’t this small amount of overtime the kind of lean efficiency and staff flexibility Tory businessmen love?
At least we’re paying for overtime as is only fair. I couldn’t find NHS England overtime payments. Perhaps this is why. According to more than one report, English nurses are doing hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime, each. See these 2017 and 2018 headlines from the Guardian and the Mirror:
‘Over half of NHS staff work unpaid overtime every week, survey finds’
‘Nurses are working over 200 hours extra per year in unpaid overtime to stop NHS collapsing. New analysis shows overstretched nurses and others are putting in £1.6bn worth of extra work’
This shared role of Health Correspondent is clearly not going to work as the Tory’s eyes light up at the above headlines and the Labour one groans miserably.