A survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found a third of staff reported there were not enough registered nurses available and a quarter said there were not enough healthcare support workers.
The research, which was submitted to a Holyrood inquiry, also found widespread concerns about the number of agency staff employed by health boards to plug shortages and the “skill mix” in hospitals.
Holyrood’s opposition parties said the findings provided “damning evidence” of SNP management and the full extent of the “horrendous lack of forward planning” by Shona Robison, the Health Minister.
They were published after a major audit last week found that Scotland’s NHS is at risk of major staff shortages thanks to the SNP government’s poor planning. The vacancy rate for nurses and midwives has spiked from 1.8 per cent to 4.5 per cent since 2010/11.
Recruitment problems have led to health boards increasingly turning to expensive, privately-employed agency staff, with the cost of hiring them increasing from £82.8 million in 2011/12 to £171.4 million in 2016/17.
“This is part of the legacy left by Nicola Sturgeon who, as Health Secretary, slashed the number of training places for nurses and midwives.”
The survey’s preliminary findings were reported by RCN Scotland in a submission to Holyrood’s health committee’s inquiry on the 2018/19 draft budget. A total of 3,300 Scottish nurses were asked about their experiences on recent shifts.
Just over a third reported the use of bank and agency staff during their most recent shift. An average of one in eight nurses was found to be supplied from outside the NHS.
“Respondents also reported insufficient staffing and the impact of this on patient care, with half of those responding in Scotland reporting that patient care was compromised on their last shift,” the submission said.
They said that “insufficient staffing” impacted on their ability to deliver “high quality care.” The RCN will publish a more detailed analysis of the survey results later in the summer.
Ms Robison said whole-time equivalent nursing and midwifery staff has increased by 3,300 compared with five years ago, while training places have also risen 4.7 per cent for 2017/18.
“Our recently published NHS workforce plan also sets out a commitment to delivering around 2,600 additional nursing and midwifery training places by the end of this Parliament, as part of a wide-ranging set of measures to support and sustain our workforce.”
This article was taken from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/31/half-scottish-nurses-warn-care-damaged-staff-shortages/