Scotland's NHS bill breaks £10bn mark

THE cost of running the NHS in Scotland increased to more than £10 billion last year.

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Official statistics showed that operating costs increased by 2.2% from the 2010-11 total of £9.8bn.

The increase means the equivalent of £1908 per person was spent on the NHS in Scotland in 2011-12.

For hospitals, the greatest cost was staffing, which amounted to £3.75bn.

Figures show the number of NHS staff increased slightly over the year.

Including GPs and dentists, the NHS had 162,234 staff in September, 883 more than the same month last year.

However 68 nursing and midwifery posts were cut over the year, prompting concerns from Labour about funding.

Royal College of Nursing Scotland Director Theresa Fyffe said: "Cuts to the workforce are not only bad news for patient care but mean that the remaining staff are increasingly over-stretched.

"While today's figures show that there has been a slight increase in the number of nursing staff in post over the last quarter, when taken in the wider context it is only a very small improvement."

Administrative staff numbers decreased by 800 to 28,159.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "More people are being treated in the community and hospital stays are shorter than ever, so the shape of the NHS workforce is changing.

"From next year nursing and midwifery staffing levels in our hospitals and communities will be informed by the mandatory use of evidence-based workforce planning tools."

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