Budget cuts

Job offers withdrawn in two-year NHS spending ban

Shona Robison
Shona Robison delivering the Scottish Budget in December

A two-year freeze on capital spending by Scottish health boards has led to the cancellation of contracts and withdrawal of job offers.

Letters have been sent to project managers, building firms and architects outlining the halt to spending on capital projects which will also affect NHS activities and staff. The decision follows cutbacks announced in last month’s Scottish Budget.

Sources say a number of firms and recruitment agencies have been forced to withdraw job offers made to candidates linked to a number of developments which will not go ahead.

NHS Lothian director of finance, Craig Marriott, issued a statement saying: “New construction projects are dependent on approval and funding from the Scottish Government.

“Following the Budget announcement in December, the Scottish Government advised NHS boards to immediately stop any project development spend as the Scottish Government does not anticipate starting construction of any new capital projects over the next two years at least.

“Staff and partners are being made aware of the current picture and will be kept updated.”

In Lothian, there there will be no replacement for the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, a new cancer centre at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital and the elective treatment centre at St John’s Hospital, Livingston.

NHS staff were already preparing for news about a recruitment freeze after the spending block emerged in the Scottish budget.

Some firms, including recruitment agencies, have now been forced to cancel contracts and withdraw job offers after receiving letters outlining the suspension of spending.

Sources say that some big developments, including some that are well-advanced, will go ahead, such as the new Monklands Hospital in Lanarkshire.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman issued a brief statement on the health board letters, saying: “This is not for the Scottish Government to comment”.

See follow-up story, including political and business reaction here

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