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Primary care nurse vacancy rate up to 2.4% in Scotland

The vacancy rate for Scottish-based nurses working in primary care increased in 2017, despite the number of FTE nurses also increasing.

The latest Primary Care Workforce Survey for Scotland found that the vacancy rate increased from 1.6% of total contracted hours in 2013 to 2.4% in 2017.

This was seen alongside an increase of 9% in the number of FTE nurses employed at GP practices over the same time period – from 1,420 in 2013 to 1,541 in 2017.

But in a warning for the future of the wider primary care nurse workforce in Scotland, it was found that more than half of nurses are over the age of 50. Just under 10% were younger than 35, with the remaining 37% aged between 35 and 49.

The survey also estimated, based on the number of responses, the total headcount and designation of nurses working in primary care in Scotland, with 48% of the workforce filling practice nurse roles (see table).

A total of 774 GP practices responded to the survey, carried out by the Information Services Division on behalf of the Scottish Government every two years.

Estimated headcount for nurses in general practices in Scotland  
Practice nurses 1,095 (48%)
Senior nurses 443 (20%)
Advanced nurse practitioners 277 (12%)
Nurse practitioners 266 (12%)
Treatment room nurses 194 (8%)