NHS says nurse vacancy rates have improved

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Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Rachael Hamilton will ask First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today what the Scottish Government is doing to train and recruit nurses in the region.

That follows a freedom-of-information request to the NHS by the Scottish Conservatives which revealed that NHS Borders spent almost £180,000 in overtime for nurses and midwives last year.

The Conservative MSP said: “SNP management is costing NHS Scotland millions and the Scottish Borders almost £180,000 in overtime alone.

“The SNP Government needs to help attract more nurses to rural areas like the Borders, and I will ask the First Minister directly what the government’s plans are to do that.”

However, NHS Borders says it has already run a successful recruitment campaign since the period the figures pertain to and that should ease its overtime bill in the future.

A spokesperson for the board said: “Patient safety is at the centre of all we do.

“At times of challenge, vacancies or short-notice sickness, we consider offering staff overtime.

“Since 2016-2017, the point in time that this data refers to, we have had a successful recruitment campaign and, as a consequence, have lower vacancy rates at present.

“We expect this improvement to be reflected in the 2017-2018 figures.”