AN additional 800 staff have been recruited from overseas for the NHS in Scotland, ministers have said.

Funding of £8 million was announced in October last year to help the NHS recruit nurses, midwives and allied health professionals from abroad.

It was part of a package of support intended to help the NHS through the difficult winter period.

The Scottish Government said the recruitment drive exceeded its initial target, with 293 additional staff already in post and another 507 coming by the end of the summer.

Earlier this week, figures revealed the overall NHS workforce fell in the year to March 2023.

READ MORE: Heart attack in Tenerife costs Scottish man £20k in insurance mistake

Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Last October we set ambitious targets to recruit 750 additional nurses, midwives and allied professionals from overseas, and I am pleased that due to the hard work of health boards we have exceeded this target.

“These recruits bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise and will help to ensure everyone in Scotland has access to the right care, in the right place at the right time.”

This announcement comes after statistics seen by the Scottish Liberal Democrats after a freedom of information request showed workers in 12 of Scotland's 14 health boards reported staffing issues to bosses almost 19,000 times in the past five years.

Although, it is not clear if multiple members of staff can file a report for the same instance.

Reports appeared to peak in most boards as a result of the pandemic, with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – the largest in the country – jumping from 608 reports in 2020-21 to 2,428 in 2021-22, while NHS Lothian went from 297 to 779.

The issue was raised by Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, when he challenged Humza Yousaf not to blame the figures on the pandemic.

“I wonder if the First Minister realises just how angry he makes NHS workers when he blames that crisis on the pandemic?” he said.

“It was exploding long before anyone had heard of Covid-19.

“Can I ask the First Minister, aren’t the royal colleges correct in their belief that irrespective of the pandemic, neglect by Scottish ministers has left this health service in a terrible state?”

Yousaf said he does not agree with the Lib Dem leader.

“There’s no doubt that there are vacancies within the NHS, but if I look at the SNP in Government, we have around 29,100 whole-time equivalents more working in the NHS that when we first took office,” the First Minister added.

“Of course there were challenges pre-pandemic, but he cannot ignore the pandemic, which has been the biggest shock the NHS has faced in its nearly 75-year existence.

“There’s no doubt at all that when we had multiple waves of the pandemic, that was affecting the NHS in terms of the number of people who were having to go to hospital due to Covid or with Covid, but also of course affected staff, who would have to isolate at home or stay at home because they were themselves infected with Covid.

“So we’ll continue to focus on ensuring that we don’t just have high levels of staffing… in the NHS, we’ll also ensure they continue to be the best paid anywhere in the UK.”