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NHS report sparks funding claims from MSP

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By Fiona Reid
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STRUGGLES to recruit NHS consultants highlights a lack of funding in Dumfries and Galloway.

That is the argument from Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell, pointing to an Audit Scotland report which reveals the region has the second highest rate of consultancy vacancies at 14.5 per cent.
Mr Mundell said: “The problems of attracting consultants to this region are well known and this report once again shows how the SNP have simply not provided enough support for rural health services over the last decade.
“People living in Dumfriesshire will be hugely concerned that almost one in six consultant posts are currently unfilled and this is a situation that the SNP must address urgently.”
Addressing the need for building repairs, he added: “I’m also alarmed at figures showing that the health board are facing a high risk backlog of over 50 per cent which highlights the need for more resources to be given to the health board in Dumfries and Galloway.”
Mr Mundell argues it is time for a ‘grown up’ debate on the NHS’ future, backing Scottish Conservative plans to overhaul health services including plans for three year funding cycles.
The Scottish Government says the Audit Scotland report shows the health budget ‘stands at its highest ever level’, with close to £13 billion being spent in 2016/17.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “As part of this record funding, NHS Dumfries & Galloway’s resource budget has increased by 5.1 per cent to £279.4 million this year \_ an above inflation increase \_ while the resource budget has gone up by 7.6 per cent in real terms since 2010.
“However we acknowledge the challenges set out in the Audit Scotland report, but also that the auditors recognise that this Government has the right strategies in place to deal with them.”
Ms Robison says the new national workforce plan will examine staffing, including ‘the challenges in remote and rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway’.
And she said: “In terms of backlog maintenance, when the new £275 million Dumfries hospital opens next year it will have a significant impact on reducing the backlog maintenance bill as NHS Dumfries and Galloway transfer services from old, outdated facilities to the brand new hospital.”

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