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Scotland to expand nursing workforce

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Scotland to expand nursing workforce There are still increasing vacancies despite government commitments to increase numbers

Around 440 new nurses and midwives are set to be recruited into the Scottish NHS in 2016/17, workforce projection figures from the Scottish government show.

This comes as part of wider initiative which will see the entire healthcare workforce increase by 750.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland’s associate director, Ellen Hudson, said that although the Scottish government is trying to address the shortage of nurses and says that there are more nursing staff working in NHS Scotland, official figures show that there is an increasing vacancy rate of 3.6% with 2200 nursing posts left unfilled.

She stated that there is a ‘widening gap’ in nursing staffing levels and that an ageing workforce ‘particularly those working out in the community like health visitors and district nurses’ is putting more pressure on existing staff.

In particular, NHS Tayside is planning to recruit an additional 137.8 WTE nursing and midwifery staff (up 2.6%).
Ms Hudson added that Scottish health boards must have the resources ‘to invest in their nursing staff, while at the same time implementing changes to the way services are delivered for the future.’

Health boards are also projected to recruit almost 100 more whole time equivalent (WTE) medical staff and 173.4 WTE allied health professionals – which includes roles such as radiographers, paramedics and physiotherapists.

Health secretary Shona Robison said: ‘These planned increases comes on top of NHS staff numbers rising to record levels under this government, with more consultants, nurses and midwives and allied health professionals now delivering care for the people of Scotland.’

She added that health boards have carefully assessed their workforces and identified the number of staff required to deliver care.

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