Welsh Conservatives have called for NHS locum and agency staff costs to be urgently controlled, as new figures show over 150 million pounds was spent by health boards over the last three years.
Stats obtained by Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies AM, via the Freedom of Information Act, show the NHS has forked out at least 153 million pounds on locum doctors and agency nurses since 2010.
Figures provided for the financial year to date – by some health boards – reveal that this year’s current total already stands at over 10 million pounds.
By far the highest spender on temporary staff was Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – at over 50 million pounds. Powys Teaching Health Board spent the least, at just 324 thousand pounds.
Welsh Conservatives have previously criticised the Labour Government’s failure to successfully fill vacancies and recruit permanent staff in the Welsh NHS.
Mr Davies said:
"The figures are disturbingly high – particularly as they come at a time when we know the NHS budget has faced devastating Labour cuts.
"While temporary staff may be a fact of life for most health boards – many of these figures will be rightly questioned by taxpayers.
"It is more than clear that Carwyn Jones is failing to see through his promise to attract more permanent staff to Wales – and health boards and patients are suffering as a result."
Shadow Minister for Health, Darren Millar AM, said:
"Spending this much on temporary staff is wasteful and inefficient and must be controlled at all costs.
"With frontline staff already under immense pressure from Labour’s record-breaking NHS budget cuts, it is sickening to see this much cash go on locums.
"Health boards have been backed into a corner by a Labour government that has slashed their budgets – yet is failing to help them recruit permanent staff.
"This crippling double whammy is only set to get worse and it’s patients and their families that will bear the brunt.
"It’s time Carwyn Jones owned up to his government’s failings and put in place a proper plan to attract permanent NHS staff to Wales."