Scottish NHS battling record shortfall of nurses amid threat of strike action – Scottish Daily Express

The figures come as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is consulting with members over the latest pay offer from the Scottish Government.
Scotland’s health service is battling a record shortfall of nurses, a union has warned.

The Royal College of Nursing Scotland (RCN) issued the warning as figures from NHS Scotland showed a rise in the number of vacancies.

The figures showed nursing and midwifery whole time equivalent (WTE) vacancies had risen to 6,319 at the end of September 2022, up from 5,761 in September 2021.
READ MORE: SNP bed blocking exposed amid record number of patients stuck in Scots hospitals
This is also the highest rate since September 2015 when 2,411 WTE vacancies were recorded.

The figures showed 64,221 nurses were in post at the end of September 2022, a number which has stayed stable over the last year.

However, the turnover rate of nurses leaving the profession increased from six per cent in March 2021 to 9.6 per cent in March 2022.

RCN bosses said the figures paint a worrying picture for the months ahead in the NHS.

Colin Poolman, director for RCN Scotland, said: “Scotland’s nursing workforce crisis is at the heart of the challenges facing our health and social care services.

“We simply don’t have the nursing workforce we need, and it is patients and families who are suffering.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, said: “These rising figures are yet another sign that the Health Secretary’s plans for NHS recovery and workforce planning are failing. Lack of proper workforce planning has left nurses working shifts which have dangerously low staffing levels and lack of support from this SNP/Green Government has left them with no other option but to consider strikes.

"Nurses and midwives need new hope. It's time for the Cabinet Secretary to go back to the drawing board and come up with proper workforce plans that help the NHS and its staff grow. If Humza Yousaf doesn’t do this soon, we will need a new Health Secretary."
It comes as RCN members are being balloted on whether to accept the Scottish Government's latest pay offer. The new deal would see NHS workers given an average 7.5 per cent uplift, meaning Agenda for Change staff would receive pay rises ranging from £2,205 to £2,751, depending on their pay band.
The previous offer for 2022-23 was an across-the-board £2,205 pay increase for all staff. Health Secretary Humza Yousaf described it as the “best and final” pay offer for NHS staff.
Mr Yousaf said: "These latest figures show total NHS Scotland staffing has continued to grow, up by more than 22% whole-time equivalent (WTE) under this Government to historically high levels.

"We remain truly grateful to all staff who are working so hard in such challenging circumstances, which is why we have engaged tirelessly with trade union representatives over recent weeks, leaving no stone unturned to reach a record pay offer. We have made the best offer possible to get money into the pockets of hard working staff and to avoid industrial action, in what is already going to be an incredibly challenging winter. If the offer is agreed this pay uplift will also be backdated to April."
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