Scotland’s NHS given £600m to help it cope with winter and retain ‘demoralised’ staff

scotlands nhs given 600m to help it cope with winter and retain demoralised staff

Scotland’s NHS will be given more than £600m to help it cope over the winter, which is widely expected to be one of the most difficult in the 74-year history of the health service.

Health boards have been told they can recruit 1,000 extra staff, made up of 750 nurses, midwives and allied health professionals from overseas, and 250 support staff.

Under plans announced by the Scottish Government on Tuesday, the NHS will also be given powers to boost the pay packets of existing staff through “pension recycling”. This is where unused employer contributions are paid to staff as additional salary, with the aim of persuading them not to leave the health service.

The £600m includes £45m for the Scottish Ambulance Service and £124m for health and social care partnerships to expand the use of care at home, easing the pressure on hospitals.

A support fund for social care staff will also be extended until 31 March, 2023, ensuring that anyone forced to self-isolate due to Covid will still receive full pay.

Ministers are also writing to GPs to stress that they are expected to offer all patients pre-bookable appointments as well as same day, face-to-face and remote consultations.

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“Given the scale of the escalating cost of living crisis, combined with the continued uncertainty posed by Covid and a possible resurgence of flu, this winter will be one of the most challenging our NHS has ever faced,” said Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

“These measures will support winter resilience across our health and care system, ensuring people get the right care they need at the right time and in the most appropriate setting.

“Our NHS and social care staff have shown remarkable resilience in the face of sustained pressure on services and I would like to thank them for their continued commitment and hard work.

“As we approach the winter period, their efforts will be vital in ensuring we deliver high quality care for the public. To help relieve pressure on services, people should continue to consider whether their condition is an emergency before going to A&E.”

The NHS winter plan was announced hours after a survey of junior doctors in Scotland revealed almost half are considering quitting the profession.

The BMA Scotland survey found that 49.8 per cent are considering leaving their jobs within two years, with the state of the NHS leaving them “demoralised, undervalued and exhausted”.

Dr Lailah Peel, chair of the BMA’s Scottish junior doctor committee, said it was “incredibly concerning to see these stats laid out in black and white”.

“If the views of the respondents of our survey are representative of the entire junior doctor workforce in Scotland, we could be walking into a workforce catastrophe in the next two years,” she warned.


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