The Scottish government's budget for 2020-21 was unveiled in the Scottish parliamernt yesterday (6 February). Commenting on some of the implications of the budget for health and care, Theresa Fyffe, Director, RCN Scotland, said:
“Nurses and health care support workers are under immense pressure, with the vast majority feeling they do not have time to care for patients as they would wish to. Extra funding for our health and social care services is always welcome, however, given the scale of the challenges, we need to see a continued long-term focus to tackle current shortages and meet ever increasing needs.
“The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act provides an opportunity to address nursing workforce shortages but it will only be successful if there is adequate funding in place as well as an increase in the nursing workforce. £5.8m to support implementation and embed the use of workforce planning tools is welcome. However success also relies on sufficient funding for health and care providers to meet their safe staffing duties under the Act in a sustainable way.
“Following sustained pressure from the RCN, the Scottish Government committed in December to increase the district nursing workforce and we are pleased to see additional funding of £4.5m to start delivering this growth. Given the crucial role that district nursing teams play in shifting the delivery of care form hospitals to community settings, we will be seeking clarity on how this will be allocated to health boards and integration authorities to support them to recruit to, train and resource these additional posts for the longer term.
“With significant demand for mental health services and an increasing trend in nursing vacancies in the mental health workforce, Ministers must ensure that the additional funding announced for mental health is targeted in the right places to enable sustained service improvement.”