Health boards in the north and north-east are still struggling to attract nurses despite offering generous packages.
NHS Grampian and Highland still need to find hundreds of nurses to fill vacant posts at busy hospitals across both regions.
Figures obtained through freedom of information revealed that since 2017 there has been £82,000 spent to attract 20 staff to the Highlands.
Meanwhile, in the north-east there has been £166,873 paid out but it was unclear how many workers received this cash.
However, it is understood that Grampian’s limit for relocation packages is £8,000, and based on the maximum pay-out this would mean a similar number to the Highlands.
Both boards have struggled to fill vacancies in their hospitals in recent years and the offer of the allowance is seen as one way that medics may be persuaded to relocate from the Central Belt and elsewhere in the country.
Grampian confirmed that there were 448 vacancies within its hospitals as of the end of March, while there were 226 posts needed filled in the Highlands.
In 2011, there were just 186 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the NHS Grampian region – but by 2016, that figure had shot up to 444.
Similar recruitment and retention challenges have been faced by NHS Highland – in the health board region in 2011, there were only 33 empty nursing and midwifery positions, and by 2016 there were 186.
Last night Peter Chapman, North East MSP, called for more nurses to be trained up to ensure boards could have more homegrown recruits.
He said: “NHS Grampian is doing its best to attract nurses. Our hospitals and midwifery units are crying out for them.
“The bursary alone may help in areas which have been particularly difficult to recruit into.
“But in recent years we’ve seen a similar scheme fail to make a dent in Grampian’s shortfall of GPs.
“There needs to be action from the SNP Government to ensure that we are training enough nurses.
“They’ve had 11 years to come up with a nationwide workforce plan and have failed, so far.”
As well as direct cash incentives, NHS Grampian has carried out a number of other projects to attract nurses to live and work in the north-east.
The health board revealed a £1million investment in a fast-track training scheme for current NHS Grampian staff to become advanced nurse practitioners earlier this year.
The academic programme, run in partnership with Robert Gordon University, seeks to help nurses build on their current experience and skills to achieve advanced level academic and clinical practice in just a year, by combining their studies with placements in the workplace.
And last October, NHS Grampian revealed plans to attract nurses from 10,400 miles away in Australia.
Delegates from the struggling health board attended job fairs in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to convince staff to travel across the world and work in the north-east.
A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “On occasion, relocation expenses are offered in line with our local policy. This is standard practice. Recruitment is challenging for us throughout the Grampian region given the comparatively high cost of living and strength of the local economy. However, we are actively recruiting to a range of posts across the organisation.”
A spokesman for NHS Highlands said: “A third of all band five nursing new starts in the specified time have been offered and accepted relocation packages. This forms part of the NHS agenda for change terms and conditions.”