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Cautious welcome for Sturgeon staffing and bursary pledge

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe has warned that more resources will be needed to make Nicola Sturgeon's safe staffing pledge a reality. 
Theresa Fyffe

Nursing leaders in Scotland have given a cautious welcome to commitments to safe staffing in the NHS, following a public pledge from first minister Nicola Sturgeon , but have warned that more resources will be needed.

Photo: John Behets

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said the union would work with the Scottish government to improve financial support for nursing students.

In her address to RCN congress in Glasgow on Monday (20 June), Ms Sturgeon said that student bursaries for nursing and midwifery would be retainedin Scotland, as would free tuition fees. To do otherwise would be shortsighted, she said.

Ms Fyffe said: We look forward to working with the government to make this a reality for our nursing students and make sure they can complete their degree

Nursing leaders in Scotland have given a cautious welcome to commitments to safe staffing in the NHS, following a public pledge from first minister Nicola Sturgeon, but have warned that more resources will be needed.

Theresa Fyffe
Photo: John Behets

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said the union would work with the Scottish government to improve financial support for nursing students.

In her address to RCN congress in Glasgow on Monday (20 June), Ms Sturgeon said that student bursaries for nursing and midwifery would be retainedin Scotland, as would free tuition fees. To do otherwise would be shortsighted, she said.

Ms Fyffe said: ‘We look forward to working with the government to make this a reality for our nursing students and make sure they can complete their degree without falling into financial hardship.'

Ms Sturgeon also said she would enshrine workforce planning tools in law, meaning Scottish NHS boards will be legally obliged to use them to ensure safe staffing levels.

Devil in the detail

Ms Fyffe warned that the devil would be in the detail.

‘The tools do not currently address skill mix, that is, the ratio of registered nurses to support workers in clinical areas. This is crucial as there is overwhelming evidence that having the right skill mix impacts on patient care. The tools, as yet, do not cover all clinical areas, either, and, again, this is another issue which we will be discussing with government.  

'But our overwhelming message to government is that, without proper funding to make sure that health boards have enough money to employ enough staff to ensure safe staffing, these proposals will merely be a paper exercise.' 

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