Glasgow City Council has spent more than £2.7m on agency staff to cover in care homes in the last two years.

In eight older people residential units the council has paid out extra for social care assistants, social care workers and social workers.

Figures released under Freedom of Information show in the last two years spending with agencies for staff has totalled £2,758,792

The biggest bill was for Hawthorn House, where spending topped £300,000 in each of the two years.

It spent £530,000 on agency social care assistants in two years.

Another £50,000 was spent on senior social workers.

The total spending decreased slightly last year when the total bills was £1,330,161, down from £1428,631 the year before.

The council said it is necessary to ensure cover for absences and that extra shifts are being offered to staff to bring the bill down further.

Orchard Grove in Prospecthill also spend more an £550,000 over two years on agency staff. All bar £20,000 was for social care assistants.

And Riverside in Dalmarnock had a bill of £580,000, with more than £400,000 on social care assistants.

Union leaders said the council should look at its staffing policy and shift patterns.

Brian Smith of Unison Glasgow Branch, said: “Bringing staff in who are not familiar with the clients is not always a good way to deliver care.

“Absence is higher than average in elderly care so that’s why they need cover.

“They also need agency staff because they don’t employ enough staff in the first place and don’t plan for absences.

“There is also a question about the 12 hour shift patterns staff were moved on to, which leads to increased absence.

“Most staff are on contracts that are not full time, so could be asked if they want extra hours instead of using agency staff.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council, said: “Some use of agency resources is inevitable in any large care home service, as it is one of the few options to cover absences while maintaining appropriate levels of support and care for residents.

“However, we monitor this closely and – as these figures demonstrate – use has declined slightly in the most recent year.

“Wherever possible, we will look to cover shifts from within our existing and very skilled workforce as a first preference – and we are currently offering a range of shifts to our in-house teams across the city.”