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NHS agency and bank staff to fill the gaps

The latest NHS Scotland figures discovered that staff sickness and vacancy rates are increasing, leaving both agency and bank nursing staff to fill in the space.

Theresa Fyffe, director Royal College of Nursing Scotland said:

“These figures are disturbing but entirely predictable. While credit must be given to the Scottish Government and health boards for increasing the number of nurses they employ, we did warn that cuts to the nursing workforce should never have been made over the period 2009 to 2012. Coupled with a lack of supply due to the reduction in nursing students over the same period, we are now seeing a workforce that is overstretched and overburdened, as health boards struggle to replace nurses who leave or retire and patient demand continues to rise.

“This situation is not only bad for patients, for staff - who are now increasingly likely to be off sick - it is bad for the public purse. The short term cuts made to the workforce to save money mean that the amount of money that health boards are now having to spend on bank staff and more worryingly, on expensive agency staff, is going up: in a year it went from £127.5m to £145.6m.

“We are now in a position where the Scottish Government should work with us, other health and care staff and with patients and the public, to come up with a plan to put our NHS on a sustainable footing. To say that there are more nurses in post now than when the SNP came to power would miss the bigger picture and does our NHS, its hardworking and dedicated staff and Scotland's public a disservice. The boom and bust approach to Scotland's nursing workforce simply isn't working.”