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Scotland spends more on temp nurses

New figures show health chiefs in Scotland are spending more on temporary nursing staff, despite forking out less cash to employ agency nurses.

The discrepancy is down to an increase in "bank" nursing staff, who are employed by the NHS.

Data from NHS Scotland show the number of agency nonfully-qualified nursing staff used increased by 7.4%, while the amount of registered nursing and midwife staff hired fell by 43.5%.

The total bill decreased by £8m, or 30.5%, as health boards made greater use of bank nurses - health service employees who can be called on at short notice, to cover planned and unplanned absences.

But the cost of using bank nursing and midwife staff increased 13.7% from £69.1m to £78.5m.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said she is disappointed with the number of agency support staff still being used.

She said: "NHS boards have made great efforts to reduce their costs of agency registered nursing staff, and the saving of £8m is welcome news.

"But the same efforts need to be made to reduce the numbers of nonregistered staff."

An Audit Scotland report earlier this year warned health bosses to monitor their use of temporary nurses as they are often used as a way of coping with staff shortages.

NHS Scotland

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