Government officials must take financial issues at NHS Ayrshire and Arran more seriously West Scotland regional MSP Jamie Greene said today.

Costs have spiralled to £3 million on locum doctors for NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s elderly medicine and stroke service over the past two years.

Dr Sukhomoy Das, who lodged the freedom of information requests, has called for a probe into the matter saying that he expects proper scrutiny from Audit Scotland.

Mr Greene pointed out that the health board is heavily dependent on locums in its hospitals and GP surgeries, and that the costs were more concerning given that the health board required £23 million of brokerage from the Scottish taxpayer in 2017-18.

The list MSP said that the cost cannot be ignored and that the Scottish Government should carefully assess the situation and plan appropriate next steps.

Mr Greene commented: “Locum doctors are necessary in some circumstances however, because of continuing recruitment issues in NHS Scotland we are beginning to see a dependency on these temporary doctors, who cost significantly more than those on permanent contracts.

“Given the high levels of debt in NHS Ayrshire and Arran and the taxpayer bailout, the Scottish Government really must be looking at why such a bill has been racked up in just two years.

"The Scottish Government must take decisive action to ensure our NHS is properly staffed and to bring down these debt levels."