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Health boards predict rise in size of Scottish nursing workforce

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The number of full-time nurses and midwives working in the NHS in Scotland is expected to rise by around 440 over the current financial year, according to latest health board predictions.

However, while welcoming attempts to boost the number of nurses in Scotland, unions cautioned that recruitment was not keeping pace with the vacancy rate.

“Health boards have very carefully assessed their workforce needs for the coming year”

Shona Robison

All health boards in Scotland have submitted workforce projections for 2016-17, revealing how they expect their whole-time equivalent staff numbers to increase or decrease.

The size of the nursing and midwifery workforce is projected to increase by 440.2 WTEs from 59,351.0 in March 2016 to 59,791.3 in March 2017 – representing an increase of 0.7%.

The largest WTE increase being projected is in NHS Tayside, up by 137.8 WTEs. Tayside is followed by 131 at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and 106 at NHS Grampian.

But the scale of the other board increases was significantly smaller and the total rise in nursing and midwifery staff also masks decreases in some areas.

The boards for Fife, Lothian and Shetland all predicted small decreases in their nursing workforce.

NHS Lanarkshire also predicted an overall fall in staff numbers, but provided no breakdown for nurses and midwives.

“This widening gap in staffing is not sustainable and puts even more pressure on existing staff”

Ellen Hudson

Meanwhile, NHS Ayrshire and Arran predicted no change in either the size of its total workforce or its nursing and midwife establishment – currently 4,148 WTEs.

According to the plans, published earlier this week, the overall size of the NHS workforce in Scotland is expected to grow by around 765 WTEs.

As well as the nursing increase, health boards are projected to recruit almost 100 more WTE medical staff and 177 allied health professionals this year.

In addition, projections for the small number of nursing and midwifery interns for the country as a whole have been provided, with the expectation that they will decrease from 28.3 to just 11.

The internship scheme for newly-qualified nurse and midwives is administered on behalf of the government by NHS Education for Scotland.

Their numbers are recorded as separate from the overall funded establishment, though they are “rostered in the normal way”, noted the Scottish government’s report titled NHS Board Projected Staff in Post Changes for 2016-17.

SNP

Shona Robison

Shona Robison

The report highlighted that similar data would continue to be collected and analysed as part of the “ongoing process of workforce planning”, and cautioned that the current figures were “estimates and as a result may change”.

Welcoming the projected increase, health secretary Shona Robison said: “As the demand on our health service grows, we must continue to grow and invest in our NHS workforce.

“At the request of the Scottish government, health boards have very carefully assessed their workforce needs for the coming year and identified the number of additional staff required to help deliver services,” she said.

“These planned increases come on top of NHS staff numbers rising to record levels under this government, with more consultants, nurses and midwives and allied health professionals now delivering care for the people of Scotland,” she added.

But the Royal College of Nursing called for more effort from ministers to “address the widening nursing gap” between vacant and filled posts.

RCN Scotland’s associate director Ellen Hudson said: “We know that the Scottish government is trying to address the shortage of nurses and repeatedly says that there are more nursing staff working in NHS Scotland today.

Royal College of Nursing Scotland

Ellen Hudson

Ellen Hudson

“But the government’s own figures show that there is an increasing vacancy rate of 3.6% with 2,200 nursing posts left unfilled,” she warned.

“This widening gap in staffing is not sustainable and puts even more pressure on existing staff who are working flat out on our wards and across communities,” said Ms Hudson.

“We need to look at how our health services are delivered if they are to be sustainable into the future,” she said. “We have an ageing nursing workforce, too, with many nurses, particularly those working out in the community like health visitors and district nurses, due to retire over the next 5-10 years.

She added: “The Scottish government needs to make sure that health boards have the resources to invest in their nursing staff, while at the same time implementing changes to the way services are delivered for the future.”

 

Breakdown of predicted changes in nursing and midwifery workforce by health board:

  • NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Total staff in post is projected to remain at 8,629.3 WTE.

Number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 4,148.

 

  • NHS Borders

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 6.9 WTE (up 0.6%).

NHS Borders has utilised the nationally developed workload and workforce planning tools to inform service redesign.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 1,165.2 and is expected to be 1,172.1 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 10.2 WTE (up 0.6%).

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 1,738.3 and is expected to be 1,748.5 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Fife

Nursing and midwifery is projected to decrease by 15.3 WTE (down 0.4%). This is due to the changes to the provision of Occupational Health and Safety Services.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 3,500.8 and is expected to be 3,485.5 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Forth Valley

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 9.9 WTE (up 0.4%). Projected figures predominantly show effect of reclassification of misclassified theatre staff from medical and dental support staff.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 2,747.7 and is expected to be 2,757.6 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Grampian

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 106.2 WTE (up 2.0%). This reflects the continued work in recruitment and retention to reduce nursing and midwifery vacancies.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 5,208.1 and is expected to be 5,314.3 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde 

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 131.0 WTE (up 0.9%).

This is mainly comprised of additional nursing resource across the acute division as part of a review of inpatient areas and an increase of 54 health visitors in line with NHSGGC’s aim to recruit an additional 200 health visitors by 2018.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 15,402.2 and is expected to be 15,533.2 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Highland

Nursing and midwifery staff are projected to increase by 7.5 WTE (up 0.2%).

This increase is due to a rise in health visiting staff employed by NHS Highland. The board also intends to recruit an additional 13.75 WTE health visitors who will be employed by the Highland Council.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 3,028.7 and is expected to be 3,036.2 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Lanarkshire

Total staff in post is projected to decrease by 40.0 WTE (down 0.4%). (No breakdown provided for staff type)

Additional information: Service redesign and cash releasing efficiency programmes will result in an overall reduction in staff across the NHS Lanarkshire workforce during 2016-17.

This has been reflected in the projection for All Staff Groups, but as it is yet to be determined which staff groups this reduction will effect, no reduction is shown in individual staff groups.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 5,240.3.

 

  • NHS Lothian

Nursing and midwifery is projected to decrease by 11.1 WTE (down 0.1%). This reflects local financial viability planning

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 9,501.4 and is expected to be 9,490.3 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Orkney

Nursing and midwifery is also projected to increase, by 12.1 WTE (up 6.7%).

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 179.4 and is expected to be 191.5 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Shetland

Nursing & Midwifery is projected to decrease by 3.9 WTE (down 2.0%).

This decrease is due to re-classification of Central Decontamination Unit (CDU) staff to the Support Services job family.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 195 and is expected to be 191.1 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Tayside

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 137.8 WTE (up 2.6%). This has been informed by the use of the national workforce planning tools.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 5,279.1 and is expected to be 5,416.9 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS Western Isles

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 24.5 WTE (up 6.9%), due to projected recruitment to vacancies and an increase in trainee health visiting, district nursing, specialist nursing and nursing support workers.

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 355 and is expected to be 379.5 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS National Waiting Times Centre (NWTC)

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 14.5 WTE (up 2.0%).

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 726.3 and is expected to be 740.9 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS State Hospital

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 5.6 WTE (up 1.6%).

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 346.5 and is expected to be 352 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS 24

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 7.8 WTE (up 3.0%).

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 262.7 and is expected to be 270.5 in March 2017.

 

  • NHS National Services Scotland (NSS)

Nursing and midwifery is projected to increase by 14.0 WTE (up 5.2%).

The number of WTE nursing and midwifery staff in March 2016 was 269.9

and is expected to be 283.9 in March 2017.

 

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