There are currently more people employed in Scottish NHS jobs than ever before, according to the latest official data.
Figures from the nation's Information Services Division have revealed that NHS Scotland's workforce has increased by almost seven per cent under the current government to a record high, with over 8,800 more whole-time equivalent (WTE) staff.
Moreover, the number of qualified nurses and midwives has also risen to a new record level, increasing by 4.4 per cent to ensure there are now over 1,800 more WTE nurses and midwives.
NHS consultant numbers reached a new benchmark in the same timeframe, with a 31.2 per cent increase meaning 1,100 more WTE consultants have been recruited since 2006.
According to the government, these frontline recruitment efforts have coincided with a concerted push to reduce the number of senior managers, thus improving the overall efficiency of the health service. It is ahead of schedule in this regard, having delivered a reduction of 29 per cent in the last four years - ahead of its target of a 25 per cent cut by 2015.
It is believed that the money saved on removing unnecessary layers of bureaucracy from the Scottish NHS can now be reinvested into frontline services and improving the standard of direct care that patients receive north of the border.
Health secretary Alex Neil said: "The increase in health workers to a record level is a result of our efforts to make sure the NHS has the right number of the right staff group working in the right place to deliver a world-leading health service."
He added: "I hope the increased workforce will give a generation of talented graduates more opportunities to start their career in Scotland's NHS."
These figures could be particularly significant given that Scotland is set to vote on potentially becoming independent from the rest of the UK in a referendum on September 18th. The outcome of this vote will certainly have significant repercussions on the future running of the Scottish NHS.
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