The Royal College of Nursing is calling on the Scottish government to take action now to address nursing workforce shortages in health and social care, as the latest statistics from NHS Scotland reveal the highest ever vacancy rate, with over 4,000 nursing posts unfilled.
Staffing for safe and effective care has been enshrined in law with the passing of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act in May. Health and care services need to be properly funded and staffed to allow providers to meet their duties under the act.
Commenting on the statistics published today (3 September 2019) Theresa Fyffe, Director of RCN Scotland said: “Today’s figures reflect the pressures faced by Scotland’s NHS. Across both acute and community settings, there are simply too few nursing staff. Only last week Audit Scotland highlighted the Scottish government’s failure to model future demand and address workforce pressures.
“The number of nurses and health care support workers in both our NHS and care home sector is simply not keeping pace with the number of people they are expected to care for. Our members repeatedly tell us that there isn’t enough of them to do their job properly.
“The Scottish government must not lose sight of this workforce challenge. Scotland needs more nursing staff, we need more people to want to become nurses, and we need to have policies and working conditions that support nursing staff to stay in the profession.”