The plan includes provision for an estimated 2,600 new nursing and midwifery training places over the next four years. It also outlines extensions to return to practice programmes and improved recruitment and retention of existing staff, particularly in ‘hard to recruit’ rural areas.
Commenting on the plan Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland Director, said: “It’s good that the Scottish Government has listened to RCN calls for more student nurses. But, as ever the devil will be in the detail, and a lot of the detail is missing from this plan.
“On the face of it, the increase doesn’t cover the existing 2,800 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the NHS in Scotland. The plan doesn’t set out how much money is going to be invested in growing the nursing workforce. And more information on the assumptions used in reaching the figure of 2,600 nurses and midwives is needed.
“The RCN will be involved in the new National Workforce Planning group to oversee the plan, so we look forward to hearing more of the detail and shaping implementation of the plan.
“But even the best laid plans depend on nursing being a profession people want to join and stay in. Unless nurses are paid fairly for the work they do and get the development they need to continue to do their job well, nurses will continue to leave. If Scotland doesn’t have the nurses, patients won’t get the care."