Labour has warned that health boards have spent more than £31 million on agency junior doctors due to the Scottish Government’s “disastrous workforce planning”.

Freedom of Information requests have revealed that in the last four years, Scottish health boards have spent more than £31 million on agency F1 and F2 junior doctors.

NHS services rely on these agency workers to cover shifts and plug the gaps in the workforce – which Labour has attributed to the SNP’s failure over workforce planning.

Read more: Pay deal: Junior doctors in Scotland call off strikes

Junior doctors are currently voting on the Scottish Government’s latest pay offer – but Labour has warned that a fair pay deal is the “bare minimum” doctors need, as the party demands better workforce planning and action to tackle the wider crisis in our NHS.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, said: “While junior doctors were forced to fight tooth and nail for fair pay and conditions, the SNP has been frittering away millions plugging staffing gaps.

“The SNP’s disastrous workforce planning has left NHS staff exhausted and demoralised and left taxpayers with a £31 million bill.”

She added: “A fair pay deal is essential, but it is the bare minimum that Scotland’s dedicated NHS workers deserve.

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“We need real workforce planning and an end to the crisis wreaking havoc in our hospitals.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Our current pay offer is the best in the UK and the largest investment in junior doctor pay in the last 20 years.

“On top of that, last year we recruited a record number of trainee doctors, and the number of available medical school places at Scottish universities has increased by 67% since 2016.

“This investment and the significant commitments we have given around pay and contract reform are an illustration of how much we value junior doctors, and we are determined to ensure that Scotland is one of the best places in the world for junior doctors to work and train.

“Our national workforce strategy for health and social care, published in March 2022 sets out our long-term commitments to ensure that we have a skilled and sustainable workforce, with attractive career choices, where all are valued for the work they do.”