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More detail needed on plan to increase Scotland nursing numbers, RCN says

The Scottish government has set out plans for 2,600 nursing and midwifery training places over four years. 
fyffe

Scottish government plans to increase nursing numbers raise more questions than answers, RCN Scotland says.

The Scottish government published its national health and social care workforce plan this week setting out details of an estimated 2,600 nursing and midwifery training places over the next four years.

Other measures in the plan to increase the supply of nurses include extending return to practice programmes, improved recruitment and retention, particularly in rural areas, and support to attract and retain staff.

The government says the steps will be focused on priority areas including primary care, mental health, midwifery, maternal and child health and on more remote areas, particularly the north of Scotland.

Detail missing

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: Its good that the Scottish government has listened to RCN calls for more nursing students. But as ever the

Scottish government plans to increase nursing numbers raise more questions than answers, RCN Scotland says.

fyffe
RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe.

The Scottish government published its national health and social care workforce plan this week setting out details of an estimated 2,600 nursing and midwifery training places over the next four years.

Other measures in the plan to increase the supply of nurses include extending return to practice programmes, improved recruitment and retention, particularly in rural areas, and support to attract and retain staff.

The government says the steps will be focused on priority areas including primary care, mental health, midwifery, maternal and child health and on more remote areas, particularly the north of Scotland.

Detail missing

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: ‘It’s good that the Scottish government has listened to RCN calls for more nursing students. But as ever the devil will be in the detail, and a lot of the detail is missing from this plan.

‘On the face of it, the increase doesn’t cover the existing 2,800 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the NHS in Scotland.

‘The plan doesn’t set out how much money is going to be invested in growing the nursing workforce. And more information on the assumptions used in reaching the figure of 2,600 nurses and midwives is needed.’

She said the college will be involved in a new national workforce planning group to oversee the plan.

Paid fairly

Ms Fyffe added: ‘But even the best-laid plans depend on nursing being a profession people want to join and stay in.

‘Unless nurses are paid fairly for the work they do and get the development they need to continue to do their job well, nurses will continue to leave. If Scotland doesn’t have the nurses, patients won’t get the care.’

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said the latest figures for recruitment rates into NHS training places will be published shortly.

‘The NHS workforce is at record levels in Scotland, but it’s clear that demand is going to continue to rise in the years ahead. Increasing staff numbers is part of the solution,' she said.

A follow-up plan is expected to be published in the autumn, covering social care, with one for primary care at the end of the year. A combined plan will be published in 2018.


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