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Scotland commits to maintaining student nurse bursary

Scotland commits to maintaining student nurse bursary
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The Scottish Government has committed to investing over £230m per year in nursing and midwifery training costs, which will cover maintaining the student bursary, it has announced.

This was part of its health and social care national workforce strategy, which also said funded places for nursing and midwifery courses would rise by over 8.7% to 4,837 in 2022/23. This increase of 388 places will be backed by additional investment of over £37m over the next three years, it added.

The strategy is also ‘exploring the potential’ to increase the use of approaches such as the Open University and apprenticeship model to improve access to pre-registration training in future. This includes ‘considering the possibility’ of more than one student intake per year, it said.

In addition, it is developing a Healthcare Framework for Adult and Older People’s Care Homes to ensure a ‘sustainable’ social care workforce. This will also examine nursing roles in primary and community care, and ensure ‘they have access to continuing training and development’.

It also committed to increasing frontline health spending by at least 20% over this parliament and increasing adult social care investment by at least by 25%.

In addition, the strategy announced plans to:

  • Create a network of 1,000 additional primary care staff who can help grow community mental health resilience and help direct social prescribing by 2026 – including mental health nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and link workers.
  • Expand the NHS Scotland Academy, which was established in 2021 to provide training to address current workforce needs, in providing enhanced skill training to nurse practitioners.
  • Recruiting 800 additional GPs by 2028.
  • Further improving staff wellbeing measures, which have already been supported by record financial investment this year.

Humza Yousaf, the country’s health and social care secretary, said: ‘While we have seen continued growth in our NHS and social care workforce over the past decade, we need more than sheer numbers alone as we continue to care for patients and plan for the future.’

The strategy is ‘designed to embed a long-term approach’ and ‘commits to understanding the change in demand for services as we recover, rebuild and transform our health service’ and ‘how we can achieve a more sustainable, skilled workforce’, he added.

It comes after an RCN poll in January showed six in 10 nursing staff in Scotland are either considering or actively planning on quitting their job.

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