Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today warned that the squeeze on NHS staff and workforce mismanagement is hurting patient care after new figures revealed the scale of NHS vacancies.
The statistics from ISD Scotland showed that 7.7% (430.5 WTE) of consultant posts were vacant. This compares to 7.0% a year earlier. Of these vacancies, 254.3 were vacant for six months or more, an increase of 70.8 over the past year.
They also showed 826.9 nursing and midwifery posts were vacant for three months or more.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"These figures show that our health workers are under huge pressure and there can be no doubt that this is impacting on both NHS staff and their patients. The Royal College of Nursing recently reported that more than half of nurses said their last shift was short staffed while 53% said patient care was being compromised.
"The Scottish Government's workforce plan isn't up to scratch. Hundreds of posts are lying vacant for months on end as Nicola Sturgeon's decision to cut training places has come back to bite.
"Ministers need to urgently relieve the pressure on hardworking staff by giving them the support and resources they need, giving them a pay rise and delivering the sustainable workforce planning our NHS requires."