The Liberal Democrats have figures suggesting that nine of Scotland's 14 regional health boards have spent more than £42million on overtime payments to consultants over the last three years.
NHS Ayrshire and Arran spent more than £2.3million on overtime payments last year.
There are believed to be 430 full time job vacancies at the moment. Of these vacancies, 254 have been vacant for at least six months. This is an increase on the previous year.
Scottish Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton last night called on the Scottish Government to mend its 'chronically chaotic' approach to workforce planning.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
"It is alarnnng that health boards are spending around £40,000 every day on overtime pay to keep services running
"The Sizeable bill shows why Ministers must mend their chronically chaotic approach to workforce planning .
"There will always be times when overtime is necessary to cover short-term gaps in the workforce, but official statistics show that hundreds of consultant posts have been empty for six months or more.
"This money could be better invested in ensuring NHS boards have enough permanent staff in the first place. It could pay for at least 400 additional consultants."
Alex Cole-Hamilton continued:
"It remains far from clear when health boards will have the staff, support and resources they need to deliver for patients."
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said:
"Scotland is ahead of the rest of the UK in terms of NHS staffing levels."
The spokesman added:
"Scotland is leading the way on workforce planning - as the first nation in the UK to publish a national health and care workforce plan, but also the only one committed to Safe Staffing legislation that covers both health and care settings.’
The news comes after it was disclosed last month that a record number of operations were being cancelled across Scotland.
Almost 19 operations a day were cancelled in January due to non-clinical factors such as bed and staff shortages.