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Highest ever nursing and midwifery vacancies recorded

5 Sep 2017

More than one in 20 nursing and midwifery posts in NHS Scotland are vacant, the highest level ever reported. This is further evidence that is further indication that the Scottish Government and health boards have failed to future proof the workforce, says RCN Scotland.

New NHS workforce data published this morning by ISD has shown that the nursing and midwifery vacancy rate now stands at 5.2%, the highest number of vacancies ever reported – one in twenty nursing and midwifery posts in NHS Scotland is vacant.

Since March there have been increases in vacancy rates for district nursing (5.5%), adult (5.3%) and mental health (4.4%). Vacancy rates in health visiting (7.3%) and paediatric nursing (7.1%) remain high. 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:

“Again we are seeing record numbers of vacancies across the NHS in Scotland. This is further indication that the Scottish Government and health boards have failed to future proof the workforce.

“Faced with gaps in their teams, nursing staff are working under enormous pressure and constantly being asked to do more with less. Without strategic long-term planning and ensuring nursing staff are paid fairly for the work they do, patients won’t get the care they need.

“We have asked the Scottish Government to ensure their proposed bill on ‘safe and effective staffing in health and social care’ supports improved workforce planning and safeguards patients by guaranteeing the right staff, in the right place, at the right time.”