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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12307: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government how it works with NHS boards and integration authorities to ensure that spending on fixed costs is economical, in particular with regard to the (a) management of utility costs and (b) minimisation of spending on areas such as agency staff spending or developing new healthcare facilities.

Answered by: Shona Robison 16 November 2017

Utility Costs

The Scottish Public Sector Utility contract, managed by Scottish Procurement, covers electricity, gas, water, some liquid fuels and biomass pellets. All public sector partners actively manage the purchase of energy on the wholesale market through a national Risk Management Committee run by Scottish Procurement. Through this committee, maximum target costs are set to ensure the least risk of exposure to market changes.

Agency Staff

The Scottish Government in conjunction with NHS National Procurement has implemented monthly reporting of Nursing and Medical Agency spend. This data, collated from the general ledger of each Health Board, is distributed to executive leads, allowing each NHS Board to see their exact month on month spend which is benchmarked against that of other Boards. Reports available also include the cost of individual locums used by Boards. Data is also provided all other aspects of agency staff spend.

Through a national procurement approach we also have framework contracts in place for Medical and Nursing agency which limit the agencies on this contract to rates of pay consistent with NHS rates, ensuring best value for money when agency staff need to be sourced. The sourcing of agency staff however should be a very last resort and the majority of temporary shifts are filled through the NHS Staff Bank which employs NHS staff on NHS contracts at NHS rates of pay.