The Auditor General’s Annual Review of the NHS in Scotland, published today (Thursday 25 October), makes a clear case for the need for change. RCN Scotland has highlighted for some time that the challenges of increasing costs, workforce sustainability and growing demand are having an impact on quality of care and has called for decisions on the future of healthcare to be made for generations to come rather than focusing on short term goals.
Today’s report underlines the importance of workforce planning in delivering this. Commenting, Theresa Fyffe, Director, RCN Scotland said:
“Workforce planning to meet the actual demand on NHS services is vital and it is welcome to see that receive such emphasis in this year’s report.
“The message from the Auditor General around recruitment and retention challenges in Scotland’s NHS underlines what those in the nursing profession have been warning about for a number of years – an unsustainable pressure on staff to deliver more care. This leads to staff burnout and, in some cases, a choice between staying in the profession and their own health.
“With the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill before the Scottish Parliament, MSPs can ensure that Scotland has the right number of nursing staff, with the right skills and experience, to deliver care to all those who need it. The Bill is not just an opportunity to enshrine safe staffing in law, but a chance to get the processes which support long-term workforce planning right. This will take investment in services and in those who deliver them. But the nursing profession is in no doubt that Scotland needs legislation on safe staffing for the wellbeing of staff and, crucially, for the safety of patients.”