Health and social care cash reserves needed to pay £2m agency staff bill

Dundee health and social care partnership may have to dip into its cash reserves to plug gaps in the service with agency staff.

Dundee health and social care partnership overspent by £2m on agency staff iStock

Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership is facing a £2m overspend due to paying agency workers to fill vacancies.

It is thought up to £3m of reserves may have to be used to plug the gap as roles in “key positions” cannot be filled.

Inflation pressures and supply issues have also contributed to the spending levels, while additional funding for coronavirus measures have dried up.

The partnership is currently underspending on wages due to a number of vacancies but this is being cancelled out by paying agency staff to fill the gaps.

At a meeting of the integration joint board on Wednesday, councillor Ken Lynn, chairman of the board, said: “This is really concerning, the underspend as a result of being unable to recruit staff to key positions.

“I guess you might think if we were able to recruit all these positions then it would make the deficit position worse.

“But it probably wouldn’t because we are are having to pay a lot of agency staff to cover for the vacancies that we can’t fill.”

Raymond Marshall, staff partnership representative of the Integration Joint Board said that: “It’s quite concerning that we are seeing most of our underspend is due to vacancies.

“If you fill the vacancies your supplementary costs will reduce.”

It comes as paying for services related to coronavirus, previously covered by the Scottish Government, must now be absorbed in the normal budget, further increasing costs.

Christine Jones, finance manaer at Dundee Health & Social Care Partnership said: “We no longer are receiving additional funding The Scottish Government.

“Ongoing spend that was previously covered by additional funding now needs to be treated as business.”

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