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SNP policy in firing line as nursing vacancies in Scotland at all-time high

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There are over 2,800 nursing vacancies in Scotland There are over 2,800 nursing vacancies in Scotland

The rate of nursing and midwifery vacancies is now at the highest it has ever been.

Over 2,800 work time equivalent posts across Scotland are now vacant, with around 670 of these being vacant for three months or more – a 51.3% increase from March 2016 to March 2017.

The nursing and midwifery vacancy rate now stands at 4.5%, the highest ever reported. The highest numbers of vacancies were recorded in health visiting 7.4%, paediatrics 7.3%, district nursing 5.2%, adult 4.4% and mental health 3.9%. These same specialties also had the highest numbers of posts vacant for three months or more.

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With the revelations, the Scottish National Party – who hold power in Scottish parliament – have been hit with criticism from nursing groups. NHS Scotland’s decision to go along with the 1% caps on nursing pay was said to be ‘adding to the anger’ of nurses working under ‘enormous pressure’.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) associate director Norman Provan said: ‘Today’s figures reflect the challenge faced by Scotland’s NHS. Across both acute and community settings, there are simply too few nurses.

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‘The Scottish government can point to the increase in the number of nursing and midwifery staff, but the reality on the ground is that nurses wanting to do their very best for patients are too often coming up against the reality of vacancies in the workforce.

‘The bottom line is that if there aren’t the nurses, patients won’t receive the care they need.’

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