Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that SNP ministers have relied on the goodwill of NHS staff for far too long as he revealed that NHS staff have logged more than 16,000 reports of concern over staffing levels in the past four years.
Figures uncovered through Scottish Liberal Democrat Freedom of Information requests have revealed that across 11 Scottish health boards, doctors, nurses and other NHS workers registered 16,635 reports of concerns over staffing levels between 2013/14 and 2016/17.
These numbers come on the heels of a recent survey by the Royal College of Nursing Scotland (RCN) which found that the majority (61%) of nursing staff said they were too busy to provide the level of care they would like.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“I pay tribute to the hard work that our doctors, nurses and other NHS workers put in on behalf of patients week in week out. Despite battling to stay on top of their workloads on every shift they go above and beyond the call of duty to keep us safe and healthy.
"No one knows the condition of our NHS better than frontline staff and these new figures show they have been driven to register their concerns about staffing levels on thousands of occasions. They feel exposed as a result of the failure of the SNP government to get to grips with the challenges facing our health service.
"Nicola Sturgeon's cuts to training places have come back to bite. Agency spending has more than doubled, there are hundreds of long-term nursing and midwifery vacancies and the pressure that is being put on the remaining staff is immense.
"NHS staff have told ministers that the current crisis can't be dismissed as exceptional winter pressures. They have relied on their goodwill for far too long. It is time staff were given the pay rise they deserve and the resources they need.
"Unfortunately, ministers' belated workforce plan is already running months behind schedule. This raises serious questions about how long it will be before they finally have the right level and mix of staff in place."