In 2017 RCN members spoke out about the staffing levels on their last shift in a 30,000 strong survey. More than half, 55 per cent, of those who took part said shifts fall short of planned staffing levels; and 53 per cent said that the shortage is compromising the care given to patients.
The results of our survey are not surprising when you
consider that the vacancy rate for the NHS in Scotland reached a record high
(5.3%) in June 2018 and while that dropped to 4.8% in September the same year, one in 20
posts (over 3,000) remain vacant. In Scotland’s care homes the
situation is worse with Scottish Care estimating the nursing vacancy rate is
The reality of these figures means that nurses and health care support workers - whether in hospitals, community teams, or nursing homes - are struggling, day in and day out, to give care to patients. It is demoralising for nursing staff and distressing for patients.