The number of nurses working in the NHS in Scotland has now reached its lowest level for six years but the rate of decline appears to be slowing, according to latest data.
Scottish NHS workforce data, published last week, showed the number of whole time equivalent nursing and midwifery staff in post on 31 December 2011 was 56,239, compared to 56,309 on 30 September.
This represents a decrease of 71 but follows a fall of 372 between June and September. The number of WTE nursing staff was at its highest in September 2009 at 58,428.
Royal College of Nursing Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “The nursing workforce has borne the brunt of the cuts that have been made to the NHS over the past two years so it is with some relief that these figures for the NHS workforce show the nursing cuts are slowing down.
“However, they are still continuing…. and the number of nurses in our NHS being at its lowest level since September 2006.”