National Health Service (Overtime)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 8 September 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Craig Hoy Craig Hoy Conservative

5. To ask the First Minister what assessment the Scottish Government has made of overtime in Scotland’s NHS. (S6F-01338)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Our national health service is the largest employer in the country, with nearly 180,000 staff—many more than was the case when the Government took office. Paid overtime accounts for a tiny fraction of the total hours that are worked in our health service.

Like most organisations, health boards make limited use of paid overtime to help to manage unplanned absences. Alongside the NHS staff bank, paid overtime can be used to ensure that care for patients is delivered.

We continue to build on 10 consecutive years of increasing NHS staffing, which is why we are investing £11 million over this parliamentary session in domestic and international recruitment.

Photo of Craig Hoy Craig Hoy Conservative

Last weekend, we discovered that hard-working NHS staff have put in 11 million hours of overtime in the past five years, as a result of SNP workforce failures. They are burned out and they are worn out, and the present situation is not sustainable. How can it be right that hard-pressed doctors and nurses are being forced to work millions of extra hours to make up for the First Minister’s failings on our NHS?

The First Minister:

It is worth noting what we are speaking about—the reported sum of money is less than 0.7 per cent of total NHS workforce spending. Of course, it is the case that staff work overtime, and it is also the case that health boards use agency and, to a greater extent, NHS bank staffing.

On the Government’s record, there are 28,000 more staff working in our NHS now than when we took office. We have a significantly higher staffing level per head of population than that in England, where the Conservatives are in power. Of course, we have the best-paid NHS staff anywhere in the UK. We will continue to build on that progress and to support the staff, who do such a fantastic job in our NHS.