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Highest ever nursing and midwifery vacancies recorded - RCN Scotland comment

6 Jun 2017

New NHS workforce data published this morning by ISD has shown that nursing and midwifery vacancies have increased by 27.5% since March 2016.

2,818.9 WTE posts across Scotland are now vacant, with around 670 of these being vacant for three months or more – a 51.3% increase from March 2016 to March 2017.

The nursing and midwifery vacancy rate now stands at 4.5%, the highest ever reported. The highest numbers of vacancies were recorded in health visiting 7.4%, paediatrics 7.3%, district nursing 5.2%, adult 4.4% and mental health 3.9%. These same specialties also had the highest numbers of posts vacant for three months or more.

Commenting, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Associate Director Norman Provan said: 

“Today’s figures reflect the challenge faced by Scotland’s NHS. Across both acute and community settings, there are simply too few nurses.

“The Scottish Government can point to the increase in the number of nursing and midwifery staff, but the reality on the ground is that nurses wanting to do their very best for patients are too often coming up against the reality of vacancies in the workforce.

“Nursing morale is low, and teams are struggling to recruit and retain the staff they need. The 1% cap on nursing pay is adding to the anger of nurses who are working under enormous pressure, constantly being asked to do more with less.

“The bottom line is that if there aren’t the nurses, patients won’t receive the care they need.”