HEALTH bosses have had to fork out millions of pounds to cover staff shortages in mental health services.

New figures show NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), which covers Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, has spent more than £9million on agency staff in the last five years.

Around 130 vacancies currently exist across the health board.

The cost of agency staff peaked between April 2016 and March 2017, when health chiefs dished out more than £2m to plug gaps in services. During the same period in 2018/19, around £1.3m was spent.

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden, who represents the local area as part of his West of Scotland remit, said: “In exceptional circumstances, agency staff will have to be hired but these costs show what a mess the SNP are making of our National Health Service.


“Wasting over £9million in just five years on agency staff for mental health provision diverts much-needed funds away from other vital areas in our health service.

“More and more children and young people are needing vital treatment and we must ensure this can be provided to them as quickly as possible.

“The SNP have been in government for over 12 years and, with such haphazard leadership, it is no wonder we have a health service which is stretched to breaking point.

The Gazette: Maurice Golden Maurice Golden

“In government, the Scottish Conservatives would ensure that proper workforce planning takes place and resist all of the SNP’s attempts to make our NHS reliant on private agency staff.”

An NHSGGC spokesperson said: “We greatly value all of our mental health staff and we are extremely proud of the high-quality person centred care they deliver every day within Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“NHSGGC employs more than 5,000 mental health staff across six Health and Social Care Partnerships and our recruitment is managed via a robust year-round process, with candidates being sought locally, nationally and internationally, where appropriate.

“Our key focus is on the delivery of high-quality, safe and effective person centred care for anyone who engages with mental health services.”