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Invest in senior nurses, RCN Scotland tells government

Senior decision-making nurses need to be better planned and resourced before seven-day NHS can happen, says The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland.

Theresa Fyffe, the RCN Scotland director said that as the biggest single workforce in the NHS, nurses are crucial to the successful delivery of seven-day care, particularly senior decision-making nurses such as senior charge nurses, specialist nurses and advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs).

ANPs work across organisational boundaries, lead multidisciplinary teams and direct patient contact, so often have an overall view of the patient.  

She said: “We're working with the Scottish Government on a number of groups looking at how we deliver care at all times of the day and night. But we need to have the right workforce who can make the difficult and often complex clinical decisions in the right place at the right time to improve patient care and outcomes.  ANPs and other senior decision-making nurses will be crucial to this.

“They cannot be thrown into these advanced roles, without the proper training, skills and experience - this is neither fair, nor safe for the individual nurse, the nursing team or their patients. The Scottish Government therefore needs to invest in developing these nurses for the future and health boards must re-numerate them at band seven or above, if seven-day care is to become a reality and the NHS to be sustainable for the future,” Fyffe said.