No recognition of staffing issues and underfunding at NHS Grampian

The Scottish Government’s health secretary showed no signs of acknowledging the long-term funding and staffing issues at NHS Grampian, in a response today to questions tabled by North East MSP Mike Rumbles.

The Cabinet Secretary refused to acknowledge that health care in the region has missed out on a total of £165.6 million of funding since 2009 and that senior staff were forced to travel to Australia last year to find a solution to filling staff vacancies, which are the highest in Scotland.


Mr Rumbles said: “The minister’s attitude to the problems in our local health services is astonishing. We need a long-term plan, with substantial funding commitments, to simply put NHS Grampian on more of an equal footing with other health boards in Scotland.  


“Closing the funding gap is the first task and the minister has failed even in that regard. The total shortfall has been over £18 million pounds each and every year since 2009, that is the equivalent of 600 fulltime nursing posts each year.    


“There has been no attempt, by the Scottish Government, to right the wrongs of the recent past. The fact that the minister refuses to even acknowledge the issue is just another slight to all of the patients and hardworking staff in NHS Grampian.”




Notes for editors:


  • Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats) - 26 April 2018: To ask the Scottish Government to what extent reported funding and resource issues at NHS Grampian have contributed to (a) concerns regarding staff recruitment, retention and morale and (b) missed waiting times targets. S5W-15958


Shona Robison: NHS Grampian will receive a resource budget uplift of 2.1% in 2018-19, the highest percentage uplift of any Territorial Board. This includes a
£5 million share of additional NRAC parity funding which takes the Board’s annual resource budget to £921 million and within 0.8% of parity.


The welfare of NHS staff is critically important; every health board is required to have policies in place and to comply with national policies on managing health at work, which includes activity to support staff wellbeing. The Health and Social Care Staff Experience Report 2017 indicated that an increasing number of staff are engaged and feel empowered in their roles.


The Scottish Government supports NHS Health Boards in their efforts to ensure that they have the right staff in place to meet the healthcare needs of the local population. Staffing levels within NHS Grampian have increased by nearly 8% under this Government, rising from 11,203.3 WTE as at September 2006 to 12,063.9 WTE as at December 2017. While there has been a slight decrease in NHS Grampian workforce, down 0.4%, in the last year, we are confident the steps we are taking to improve workforce planning arrangements will directly benefit NHS Grampian, its workforce and patients.


With regards to waiting times, in 2017-18 the Scottish Government made £50 million available to specifically reduce waiting times across NHSScotland – with £4.9 million made available to NHS Grampian. This additional funding is aimed at building up their capacity and making sure that all patients are seen and treated in a timely fashion.


Announced in November, the Access Collaborative will provide further support by looking at different ways patients can receive timely, accessible care and improve the way elective care services are provided and managed across the NHS in Scotland.


Officials continue to meet regularly with NHS Grampian to support improvement in waiting time performance.


  • The following table shows NHS Grampian's allocation since 2009/10 alongside the target allocation and the difference between the two, which shows NHS Grampian has received a total underfund of 165.6 million since 2009:



NHS Grampian allocations, m































Distance from parity












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