Nursing (Pay)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 8 September 2022.

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Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

The First Minister will be aware of the

Sunday Mail investigation showing that the use of private agency nurses in the national health service is spiralling out of control, but can the First Minister understand the frustration of hard-working and exhausted nurses when those same agencies put out recruitment adverts saying that they will pay nurses the rate that they deserve, meaning a much higher rate than NHS pay?

Will the Scottish Government commit today to fair pay for all NHS workers, who we all clapped for during Covid and who are holding our NHS together under significant pressure?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

First, spend on agency staff in the NHS is a tiny, tiny fraction of the overall NHS budget. Secondly, the majority of temporary staffing comes from the NHS staff bank and those are NHS staff on NHS contracts at NHS rates of pay.

I agree with the member on NHS pay and I think that that is evidenced in the fact that agenda for change NHS staff in Scotland are already better paid than they are in other parts of the United Kingdom, because we take so seriously our obligation to reward them properly.

We are in extremely difficult financial times—that has been set out clearly to members in the chamber this week. NHS negotiations around pay are on-going but, just as was the case with other public sector workers, we want to ensure that our NHS staff get the fairest possible deal, and I know that the health secretary is taking that extremely seriously in those negotiations.