Concern as Record Number of Absences Hit NHS Highland

Concerns have been raised following news that the number of absences affecting NHS Highland has hit a record high.

The statistics, released by NHS Scotland’s ISD service show that the sickness absence rate for the year 2017/18 was 5.19%.

Records for individual health boards were first collected in 2011, when the absence rate for NHS Highland was just 4.8%.

The news coincides with the announcement that the amount of money spent by NHS Highland on bank and agency staff has rocketed past the £8m mark – a record high for the health board.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said:

“Our NHS staff work phenomenally hard to meet the growing demand for our health service, and NHS Scotland needs to do all it can to support its staff and work to reverse the clear growing trend of absence in the service.

However, it is abundantly clear that despite promises to tackle spending on locum staff, the SNP are failing to manage the workforce crisis in the NHS, and instead of recruiting permanent staff to meet demand, NHS Highland are being forced to shell out more on bank and agency staff to plug the gaps.

Instead of spending all their time planning for another unwanted independence vote, the SNP need to get a grip of this crisis and fix the Scottish NHS.”

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