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New nurses struggling to find jobs


RCN Scotland has said policies such as freezing posts and not replacing people who leave mean newly qualified nurses and midwives are struggling to find jobs in the NHS.

The union has warned “unsustainable tactics” are being used by health chiefs struggling to cut costs, and called for more to be done to protect frontline services.

It added the decisions could have “devastating consequences” for patient care in the future.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs in June that more than 1,500 nursing and midwifery posts would be axed this year as part of plans to cut almost 4,000 NHS jobs.

However, she said there would be no compulsory redundancies and expressed confidence that patient care would not be affected.

Associate director of RCN Scotland, Ellen Hudson, has voiced her concerns about the impact of any cuts on people trying to start a career in nursing.

She told Scotland on Sunday: “To save money, many health boards are focusing on the nursing wages bill and are using unsustainable tactics, such as freezing posts, not replacing registered nurses when they leave or retire and converting vacant registered nurse posts to a lower grade so that they cost less. This has resulted in far fewer employment opportunities for newly qualified nurses.”

Ms Hudson also questioned whether a scheme which offers new nurses a one-year NHS job guarantee after they qualify would be able to continue in the current financial climate.

She added: “The nursing workforce in Scotland is ageing and we are losing the skills and experience of older nurses who are retiring. If we do not replace them with new registered nurses this could have devastating consequences for the future of patient care in Scotland.”

The Royal College of Midwives Scotland also spoke of similar concerns and suggested that there may soon be no jobs at all for newly-qualified midwives.


Readers' comments (31)

  • Our acute trust has just taken on 14 portuguese newly qualified nurses whilst only a handful of our cohort have jobs....WHY

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  • in relation to the above - I would suggest the reason is the most commonly used phrase these days that I hear ....left hand and right hand!!

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  • here we go again- non nursing/medical managers concerned only with impressing their bosses/keeping their useless lives going by balancing the books, when all this will lead to is less people choosing nursing due to poor job prospects, but then oh dear in a couple of years we will have the ludicrous recruitment from abroad again with all the problems THAT entails. the NHS needs to SACK these idiots and let them go back to Tescos/Asda or wherever they crawled out from

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  • >the NHS needs to SACK these idiots and let them go back to Tescos/Asda or wherever they crawled out from

    Probably nurses.

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  • and this is after the same bloody idiots wasted £300 million on 'management consultants'. What the NHS management do is so close to criminal negligence I think a few should be sent to prison for wasting public money

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  • Well what can I say!!!!
    I am finishing up this year after studying nursing for 4 years!!!, have my diploma and degree in the adult branch....and no where to practice it. I'm devastated about the way things are right now. Now if I go back and specialize whats the chances of getting a job then, very slim.
    Feel like I have just wasted 4 years of my life.......should have stayed an auxillary

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  • The idea that nursing is a job for life is no longer sustainable and all nurses need to take this into consideration before making rash comments. I answered the call for specialist nurses in 1999 and have continued to work in the NHS since then. I continue to work with a varied ethnic mix of nurses who have a high standard of clinical skill that is required in the modern NHS.
    Nursing has many facets and opportunities are there for those willing to take the challenge be that on home soil or abroad.

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  • Steve Williams

    Jeffrey, there never WAS a concept that nursing was a job for life. At the very least it's a skilled career, in a similar way that you could say that 'welding' was a skilled career (bear with the rough analogy for a second.) As a welder you cannot expect to work on the construction of the same ship for the rest of your life or even in the same shipyard – but you should, at the very least, have the reasonable expectation of always being able to find gainful employment in your trade. As you point out though, you have to be prepared to relocate – even the welder would do this if the shipyards in his area close.

    Okay, enough of the crude analogy. If health chiefs want to cut costs they should cut throats – their own. Not only would they save the NHS a bundle of money that could be used to employ a few of those newly qualified nurses but they would be doing society a big favour akin to excising a malignant cancer from the face of the earth.

    Do you think that any of these self-serving hypocrites will step up to the plate and resign (without a golden-goodbye and an overly generous superannuated pension) to free up some dosh for some more front-line nurses?

    BWWWAAAHHAAAHHAAhaaaahhhaaa... erm – nope! Too busy with their snouts buried in the collective trough! Oh Mr and Mrs U.K.Taxpayer you would weep if only you knew where/who the bulk of your N.I. contributions really go to.

    100k p.a. For a nurse? Joking eh? Only via promotion to middle management!

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  • Finished four years of study. Have a BA (Hons) Nursing Studies. No jobs. Fantastic. Going to Oz see ya.

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  • Oz even

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