Differing views on local NHS staff levels

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NHS figures revealed last week have produced differing views on the state of local health care.

Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie, welcomed the news that NHS Lothian staff levels increased from 19,999 to 20,458 in the past year: “This will help make sure people across my constituency receive the top class care that they have come to expect. NHS Lothian will benefit from having even more dedicated and highly skilled staff – and is part of why staffing levels are at a record high across Scotland.”

However, the Royal College of Nursing highlighted the 4.5 per cent nursing and midwifery vacancy rate, with nearly one in 20 posts vacant. Director Theresa Fyffe, said: “There are simply too few nursing staff. Nursing morale is low, and teams are struggling to recruit and retain the staff they need. The prolonged pay freeze and workload challenges is adding to the anger of nursing staff who are working under enormous pressure, constantly being asked to do more with less.

“The bottom line is that if there aren’t the nursing staff, patients won’t receive the care they need.”

And, commenting on ISD Scotland figures which show vacant consultant posts have increased by 11.1 per cent in the past year, Scottish consultants committee chairman Simon Barker, said: “It is imperative that the Scottish Government acts now to demonstrate to existing consultants that they are valued; and to make new posts attractive.”