Labour calls for audit on NHS private spending

Shona Robison faces calls for an audit
Shona Robison faces calls for an audit
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The Scottish Government is facing calls for an urgent audit on the NHS’s private spending after it emerged ministers don’t know how much cash has been allocated to outsourcing services.

Labour made the call after Health Secretary Shona Robison admitted the Scottish Government does not hold information on how much money is spent on outsourcing.

The disclosure was made in her response to a parliamentary question tabled by Labour’s health spokesman Anas Sarwar.

Recent figures have suggested £60 million has been spend on agency nurses in the last five years. And £50 million has been spent on private operations in the last year.

In his parliamentary question, Mr Sarwar asked what the expenditure on outsourcing NHS services had been each years since the SNP came into power in 2007.

Ms Robison replied that the information was not held by the Scottish Government.

Mr Sarwar said: “Shona Robison is in denial about the pressures our NHS is facing. She is failing to even get the basics right. It is completely unacceptable that she does not even know how much the SNP is spending on outsourcing in the NHS. It shows that they are clueless on the pressures our health service is under.
 “A third of NHS staff are telling us that there aren’t enough of them to do their jobs properly and nine out of ten nurses say their workload is getting worse. There is a workforce crisis that means health boards are increasingly turning to the private sector to complete procedures and to agencies to fill nursing and GP gaps. This is increasing costs and putting further strain on our already over-worked staff.
 “Despite a growing sense that private sector use in our NHS is increasing, the SNP government doesn’t even bother to record how much they spend.
 “After a decade of control of our NHS, we are seeing the continued mismanagement of our most trusted public service.”