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Scotland needs more nursing staff – comment on ISD workforce data

4 Dec 2018

Workforce data published today (Tuesday 4 December) shows that shortages of nursing staff continue to be a challenge across Scotland’s NHS.

The nursing and midwifery vacancy rate reached a record high (5.3%) in June this year and while that dropped to 4.8% in September, one in 20 posts remain vacant. In addition, the number of posts vacant for over three months or more has continued to increase and has now reached more than 1,000.

The vacancy rate for posts requiring registered nursing and midwifery staff has increased from 4.8% in September 2017 to 5.3% in September this year. Over the same period, eight of Scotland’s territorial NHS boards reported a reduction in registered nursing and midwifery staff in post.

Commenting, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Associate Director Norman Provan, said: 
“In the week that MSPs are due to debate the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill, these figures highlight the need to enshrine safe staffing in law and to ensure this legislation makes a difference for patients and staff.

“The pressures on nurses and health care support workers are huge - demand for health and care services is rocketing and the number of staff is just not keeping pace with the number of patients they’re expected to care for. Having the right number of nursing staff, with the right skills and experience to meet demand is fundamental for the safety of patients and the wellbeing of our members.

“With the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill, MSPs have the opportunity to get the processes that support long term workforce planning right to ensure that Scotland has the nursing staff required to deliver care to all those who need it.”

Page last updated - 30/09/2019