The Scottish Government has announced the UK’s first integrated health and social care workforce plan, including policies to increase nurse recruitment.
It will recruit 375 full-time district nurses over the next five years to support delivering more care at home and in the community, as well as boosting student nursing intake by 5% as part of the plan.
The pledges mean student nurse intake will increase for the eighth consecutive year in Scotland, up by 5%, creating 4,206 places for 2020-21.
Other plans include 225 more advanced musculo-skeletal practitioners and up to 120 more pharmacists in primary care.
There will also be an 8.6% boost in the number of mental health officers employed by local authorities and an additional 60 training places for clinical psychologists.
A new £600,000 service will also be introduced as part of the project to train radiologists in mechanical thrombectomy for the treatment of ischaemic stroke.
The Scottish Government also vowed to deliver a national picture of workforce planning, capacity, methodology and capability.
They will provide informal and formal skills development for workforce planners, as well as develop a workforce planning educational equivalent.
Health secretary Jane Freeman said the plan will be ‘invaluable in helping us to anticipate and respond to changing and growing demand faced by our health and social care services’.
She continued: ‘We have record numbers working across our health and social care services – with NHS staffing levels up 11.3% since 2006 and the social care workforce at its highest level since reports began.
‘As this plan outlines, the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit remains, and as a responsible government we will continue to do all we can to protect our health and social care services.’
Stuart Currie, the health and social care spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), which helped develop the plan, said: ‘COSLA is pleased to support the publication of Scotland’s first integrated health and social care workforce plan. Workforce planning is essential to ensure that Scotland’s people receive the right care, by the right people, at the right time and in the right place.
‘We look forward to continued cross-sectoral work, to realise this plan’s ambition and to further develop capacity and capability for workforce planning in social care and beyond, for the benefit of our citizens’ health and wellbeing.’