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Hundreds more nursing posts planned by Scotland’s health boards

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NHS health boards in Scotland are planning to increase their nursing and midwifery workforce by 594 posts this year, according to official projections.

The overall 1% boost is expected to see the number of whole-time equivalent nursing and midwifery jobs rise from 59,650 at the end of March 2017 to 60,244 a year later.

“Increasing staff numbers is important, but we are also focussed on making sure we develop and retain the flexible workforce we need”

Shona Robison

Among the 14 health boards, NHS Orkney is enlarging its workforce by the biggest proportion – by 8%, from 187 to 202 posts.

NHS Tayside is bringing in the highest number of additional jobs. It is expanding its workforce by 271 WTE posts, from 5,251 to 5,522.

According to a Scottish government report that contains the projections, this expansion “has been informed by the use of the mandated national workforce planning tools and is in line with the national drivers”.

However, two other health boards – NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and NHS Highland – are planning to keep the same number of nursing and midwifery posts in 2017-18.

Meanwhile, NHS Shetland is decreasing its workforce by 4.4% this year – equal to 8.2 WTE posts. According to the government report, this drop is “in part due to a ward closure”. It said that staff have been redeployed to other vacant posts.

Across all NHS health board staffing groups, including nurses, doctors and allied health professionals, the country is expected to see a rise of 1,414 posts (1%) this year.

All health boards are due to publish individual workforce plans in full by the end of 2017.

In June, the Scottish government unveiled plans to train an additional 2,600 nursing and midwifery training places in Scotland over the next four years.

As part of its workforce proposals, the government also stressed that other measures – such as a focus on return to practice programmes – would be required, in addition to the extra training places, to keep up with higher demand for staff.

Scottish health Secretary Shona Robison said: “There are record numbers of staff across Scotland’s health service, and these projected figures show that we are on track to continue that increase in the year ahead.”


Shona Robison

Shona Robison

“The largest proportion of these increases are expected to be in the nursing and midwifery staff group. To continue this, we have committed to create an additional 2,600 training places for nurses and midwives over the next four years,” she said.

“Increasing staff numbers is important, but we are also focussed on making sure we develop and retain the flexible workforce we need,” said Ms Robison.

She added: “This is backed up by other measures in our workforce strategy, such as extended ‘return to practice’ programmes and improved recruitment and retention schemes, particularly in rural areas.”

NHS Scotland health boards: Planned changes to size of nursing and midwifery workforce

NHS Ayrshire & Arran – No change in workforce size (projected to remain at 4,299.4 WTE posts)

NHS Borders  – Increasing by 10.2 WTE, or 0.9% (from 1,150.5 to 1,160.6 WTE posts)

NHS Dumfries and Galloway – Increasing by 33.5 WTE, or 1.9% (from 1,721.8 to 1,755.3 WTE posts)

NHS Fife – Increasing by 3.0 WTE, or 0.1% (from 3,547.3 to 3,550.3 WTE posts)

NHS Forth Valley – Increasing by 76.8 WTE, or 2.8% (from 2,781.2 to 2,858.0 WTE posts)

NHS Grampian – Increasing by 25.2 WTE, or 0.5% (from 5,253.1 to 5,278.3 WTE posts)

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde – Increasing by 56.0 WTE, or 0.4% (from 15,376.9 to 15,432.9 WTE posts)

NHS Highland – No change in workforce size (projected to remain at 3,069.3 WTE posts)

NHS Lanarkshire – Increasing by 28.8 WTE, or 0.5% (from 5,242.6 to 5,271.4 WTE posts)

NHS Lothian – Increasing by 38.4 WTE, or 0.4% (from 9,554.2 to 9,592.6 WTE posts)

NHS Orkney – Increasing by 15.3 WTE, or 8.2% (from 187.0 to 202.3 WTE posts)

NHS Shetland – Decreasing by 8.2 WTE, or 4.4% (from 187.5 to 179.3 WTE posts)

NHS Tayside – Increasing by 271.2 WTE, or 5.2% (from 5,251.3 to 5,522.5 WTE posts)

NHS Western Isles – Increasing by 2.6 WTE, or 0.7% (from 364.6 to 367.2 WTE posts)

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