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Scotland has record number of nursing vacancies

Monday 12th June 2017
Scotland currently has a record number of nursing vacancies, new figures reveal. Image: Spotmatik via iStock
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    A record number of nursing and midwifery vacancies have been reported in Scotland, meaning there are plenty of opportunities available across the country for nursing staff who are willing to work on a locum basis.
     
    New data from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) shows that the number of unfilled nursing positions in Scotland has risen by more than one-quarter (27.5 per cent) since March 2016, fuelling increasing demand for more trained nurses in the country's hospitals.
     
    A total of 2,819 nurse and midwife posts are currently vacant in Scotland, with approximately 670 having been unfilled for more than three months at present.
     
    Overall, the nation's nursing vacancy rate comes in at 4.5 per cent, but there is higher demand for nurses with certain specialisms, with 7.4 per cent of health visitor positions unfilled, along with 7.3 per cent of those in paediatrics and 5.2 per cent in district nursing.
     
    What's more, 4.4 per cent of all adult nurse positions currently stand empty, as well as 3.9 per cent of mental health nurse roles.
     
    As a result, patients in Scotland are not necessarily able to benefit from the highest possible standard of healthcare that hospitals should be providing, as there are simply too few staff for this to be the case, creating growing demand for locum nurses.
     
    Norman Provan, associate director of the RCN, commented: "Across both acute and community settings, there are simply too few nurses.
     
    "The reality on the ground is that nurses wanting to do their very best for patients are too often coming up against the reality of vacancies in the workforce.
     
    "The bottom line is that if there aren't the nurses, patients won't receive the care they need."
     
    Mr Provan called on the government to take action to fund more training places across the NHS to make sure all patients have access to the standard of healthcare they require to ensure the best possible outcomes.
     
    Written by James Puckle
     
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