A significant number of Scots believe there are not enough nursing staff to provide safe and effective care in Scotland’s health and care services, according to a new poll.
A survey for the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, demonstrated that the Scottish public values nursing staff for the work they do, but that the government needs to do more to recognise the contribution of nursing staff. This is particularly the case when it comes to protecting the health and wellbeing of nurses and nursing support workers.
The research also revealed that there is public support for a pay increase for NHS nursing staff. Respondents said a pay rise was one of the top three priorities for Scottish Government spending on health and care following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The findings support the RCN’s manifesto which is being launched today (Thursday 25 February) ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections.
The manifesto calls for action on four key policy areas that are important to RCN members and are required to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the people of Scotland.
RCN Scotland is asking the Scottish Government to:
- value the nursing workforce through fair pay, professional development and support for their health and wellbeing
- ensure there are enough registered nurses and nursing support workers to deliver safe and effective care
- recognise the critical role of community services within the whole health system and ensure the workforce in the community and care homes reflects clinical need
- take action to tackle health inequalities and grow the mental health nursing workforce.
Launching the manifesto, Susan Aitkenhead, Director, Royal College of Nursing Scotland said:
“Nursing as a profession has been integral to the pandemic response; working under immense pressure, whether in hospitals, out in the community, or looking after vulnerable people in care homes.
“As the focus begins to shift towards recovery and remobilisation, we have set out what needs to be done to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the people of Scotland and to protect the future of nursing.
“It is clear that the public agrees that more needs to be done to value the nursing profession and enable nursing staff to provide the best possible care. Our members remain committed to their profession, but action is urgently needed to ensure nursing is attractive, well-paid and meaningfully supported, otherwise we risk many of our members leaving – at a time when the nation needs them more than ever.”
During the run up to the election the RCN is encouraging nursing staff, politicians and the public to show their support to protect the future of nursing. More information on the campaign can be found at www.rcn.org.uk/protect.