By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said the number of NHS staff shortages across Scotland highlights a deepening crisis within NHS Scotland.
New NHS Education for Scotland statistics show a 2.2% decrease in the number of nursing staff from the last quarter, with a shortage of 3,293 whole time equivalent (WTE) nursing and midwifery staff at 30th September 2020.
Vacancy rates across NHS Scotland remain high with 377 WTE medical and dental consultant jobs unfilled and pharmacy vacancies sitting at 7.8%.
Jackie Baillie has said the figures reflect poor recruitment and retention of NHS staff which is in part due to the chronic under-resourcing by the SNP government and years of failure in tackling staff stress or valuing the workforce through fair pay and conditions.
The MSP said: “Protecting and growing the NHS workforce has never been more important. Our NHS and it’s vital workforce has worked around the clock this year, in unimaginable conditions, to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
“The Scottish Government has failed to address the gaps in our NHS workforce, vacancies in the health service remain too high and must be urgently addressed.
“Frontline staff reported high levels of stress and burnout before the pandemic due to under-investment in our NHS.
“The Scottish Government must urgently address workforce issues in the interests of patients and the staff we all rely on.”