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Agency nurse costs in Scotland reduced

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The use of bank and agency staff in the Scottish NHS has fallen by almost a third over the last year, according to government figures.

Data gathered by NHS Scotland Workforce Information shows the number of agency nursing and midwifery staff fell from 484.6 whole time equivalents in 2006/07 to 333.9 in 2007/08.

As a result, the NHS reduced its agency costs by 34% (£6.25m).

The use of bank nursing and midwifery staff also decreased by 3.4% over the period to 3399 whole time equivalents – but costs rose by £11m.

Jane McCready, chair of RCN Scotland, said: ‘We welcome the work health boards have been doing to end their over-reliance on expensive agency staff and we are keen to see the use of agency staff by NHS Scotland continue to fall year-on-year.’

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