By Bill Heaney

Short-staffed health boards have spent over £46 million outsourcing radiology over the last 5 years, Scottish Labour has learned.

In figures released to the Scottish Labour Party under Freedom of Information legislation, it has been revealed that the NHS has paid £46.3 million outsourcing radiology services to private firms between 2018-19 and 2022-23.

This number has soared by 78 per cent in five years, from less than £6.9 million in 2018-19 to more than £12.2 million in 2022-23.

A previous report by the Royal College of Radiologists estimated that the cost of outsourcing was just £3.5 million in 2013–14.

The Royal College of Radiologists has been sounding the alarm on staffing shortages and rising outsourcing costs for years, and Cancer Research UK has also highlighted the issue.

Scottish Labour’s Health Spokesperson Jackie Baillie labelled the figures a “scandal” and said they exposed the SNP’s mismanagement of the NHS budget and disastrous workforce planning.

Scottish Labour Health spokesperson Dame Jackie Baillie, pictured right,  said: “While our NHS is stretched to breaking point, eye-watering sums of money are being handed over to private companies to plug staffing gaps.

“This is the cost of 16 years of disastrous workforce planning and financial mismanagement under the SNP.

“Experts have been sounding the alarm on this growing workforce challenges for years, but their warnings have been ignored – and now things are at crisis point.

“Humza Yousaf and his Health Secretary Michael Matheson need to take urgent action to address the recruitment crisis in the NHS and end this scandal.”

Health Board 2018/19 2022/23 TOTAL (2018 – 2023*) % change 2018/19 to 2022/23
Ayrshire & Arran £1,296,212.00 £2,213,199.00 £8,629,597.00 71%
Borders No spend £188,537.00 £626,425.00 N/A
Dumfries & Galloway £43,290.00 £151,054.00 £463,188.00 249%
Fife £390,720.45 £593,294.88 £2,500,216.73 52%
Forth Valley £343,981.00 £697,224.00 £1,945,819.00 103%
Grampian £1,066,779.00 £747,457.00 £4,559,037.00 -30%
Greater Glasgow & Clyde £752,204.00 £1,516,068.00 £5,081,838.00 102%
Highland £755,076.00 £1,476,077.00 £5,050,051.00 95%
Lanarkshire £460,815.00 £1,968,263.00 £5,521,275.00 327%
Lothian £1,001,717.00 £1,543,694.00 £6,971,066.00 54%
Orkney No spend
Shetland No spend
Tayside £759,570.00 £1,137,260.00 £4,835,578.00 50%
Western Isles £322.00 £18,434.00 £92,447.00 5625%
TOTAL £6,870,686.45 £12,250,561.88 £46,276,537.73 78%

* NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Fife, Forth Valley, Highland, Lothian and Tayside have provided data by financial year.

NHS Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Grampian, Lanarkshire and Western Isles have provided data by calendar year.

Source: Data released to Scottish Labour by Freedom of Information Request  


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