More than £13 million was spent on agency doctors and nurses in NHS Grampian over a nine-month period.
The health board has revealed it paid out around £12.4m for agency locum doctors between April and December 2015. And they also paid out £1.4m on nursing agency staff in that same period.
A report, to go before today’s board meeting of NHS Grampian, states the locum spend on doctors is a “significant increase” on the total spend for the whole of 2014/15, which was around £9m.
The nursing agency spend was £1.4m between April 2015 and December 2015, which after nine months exceeds the previous year’s spend of £0.9m.
Spending on bank nurses, who are paid and trained by NHS Grampian and cover vacancies and staff absences, has also increased in the same period last year to £12.5m.
This compares to £11.4m at the same point in 2014.
But the report adds: “Vacancies in NHS Grampian are starting to show signs of reducing, although the nursing and midwifery vacancy numbers have increased.” The report said there “appears to be an imbalance” in the number of nursing and midwifery staff who are starting and those recorded as leaving.
The number of vacancies has increased during the quarter to the end of December 2015 from 397 whole time equivalent posts to 412.5.
But the number of consultant vacancies has decreased from 43.7 wte roles to 39.3.
The overall head count of staff has increased to 14,442 from 14,439 since the last quarter.