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Steep rise in nursing vacancies in Scotland

Ministers must act to ensure there are enough nurses for new safe staffing law – RCN

Ministers must act to ensure there are enough nurses for new safe staffing law – RCN

Scotland’s nursing shortage has more than doubled in the past five years.

There were 3,108 nursing vacancies in June 2019 across a required workforce of 44,386 in acute and community settings, NHS National Services Scotland data show. This compares to 1,397 nursing vacancies in June 2014. 

More nurses are needed for compliance with safe staffing law

RCN Scotland said the NHS needs to be properly funded and staffed to adhere to the country’s safe staffing law passed in May. The law covers all clinical groups in health and social care.  

The 41,278 nursing posts filled, but needs a total of 44,386 nurses as of June 2019

RCN Scotland, director, Theresa Fyffe said the figures reflected the pressure facing Scotland’s NHS and urged the Scottish Government to do more.

‘Across both acute and community settings, there are simply too few nursing staff,’ she said.

‘Scotland needs more nursing staff, we need more people to want to become nurses, and we need to have policies and working conditions that support nursing staff to stay in the profession.’ 


Scotland's health minister
Jeane Freeman

'Scottish government has increased nurse training places'

Scotland's health secretary Jeane Freeman said: ‘We recently passed our new safe staffing legislation to help plan and recruit our workforce. We’ve supported this by increasing training places for medical students and for nursing students.

‘We’ve protected free nursing and free midwifery tuition and not only kept their bursary, but we are increasing it to £10,000 from next year.’


Related material

NHS National Services Scotland: Nursing and midwifery dashboard


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