Concerns have been raised as Shetland’s health and social care partnership face an overspend of almost £5 million in the current financial year.
Locum and agency staffing costs are among the main reasons for the overspend.
During the first six months of the year, there was already an overspend of £2m of the £60m budget set in April.
This figure is expected to rise to £4.7 million by the end of the financial year.
The overspend was discussed during the council’s Integration Joint Board (IJB) meeting this morning (Thursday).
Shetland West councillor Liz Peterson warned staffing problems were largely contributing to the financial pressures.
Shetland South councillor Robbie McGregor questioned whether a lack of housing was contributing to the staff problems and asked what could be done to resolve the issue.
“There’s been some speculation on social media that people are not coming to take up roles because of the housing difficulties,” he said.
“I’ve raised this matter on many occasions. I’m aware there’s a big sum of money available by the Scottish government to build houses.
“I just wondered if the IJB or NHS Shetland could become involved in this to solve our own problems?” he asked.
IJB chief officer Jo Robinson responded: “I’m not sure that the IJB itself could because it isn’t the employer of the staff, so it may not have that ability to be responsible for house building.
“But working in partnership with the NHS and local authority, I think it is an area that needs greater scrutiny really.”
Read the full story in tomorrow’s Shetland Times.