RCN Scotland is calling for the Scottish government’s Programme for Government to set out plans for increased investment in health and social care to tackle the nursing workforce crisis.
The call comes as the latest NHS Scotland workforce statistics, published today (Tuesday 6 September 2022), show that at the end of June there were still over 6,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies across NHS Scotland – up from 4,845 in June 2021, a 24% increase.
Scotland’s nursing staff are facing unprecedented pressures at work and at home as the cost-of-living crisis bites.
Colin Poolman, RCN Scotland Interim Director said:
“Our members are telling us that enough is enough. Every day they are seeing patient care compromised because there simply aren’t enough nursing staff to go round. Patients and staff are suffering.
“They are having to cope with the burden of knowing they haven’t been able to do their best while worrying about how they can heat their homes, feed their families and find the money to travel to work. Many simply can’t afford to be a nurse any longer.
“There remain over 6,000 unfilled jobs across NHS Scotland and spending on agency staff continues to rocket.
“Paying nursing staff fairly for the safety critical work that they do would be a simple step to retain and recruit nursing staff. In the coming weeks we will be balloting our members on industrial action. Our members are clear that something has to change for their concerns over patient safety and staff wellbeing to be heard.
“The Programme for Government must set out an investment plan that addresses the nursing workforce crisis and invests in the future of Scotland’s health and care services.”