Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today condemned the Health Secretary's handling of workforce planning and called for an urgent Burnout Prevention Strategy for staff after new figures revealed that the number of nursing and midwifery vacancies has risen by almost 20% in just 3 months.
New figures published by NHS Education for Scotland today reveal that nursing and midwifery vacancies have risen from 4,845 on 30 June 2021 to 5,762 on 30 September 2021, an increase of 19%.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"It’s no surprise that nurses are feeling burned out and many are being pushed towards the exit. They’ve nursed us through the pandemic but it has been relentless and the lack of support is taking its toll.
"Humza Yousaf's answer to the damage the pandemic did to our health service was to insist that he could increase NHS capacity by 10%. Without properly investing in workforce planning, that was always going to be delusional.
"NHS staff have repeatedly warned that retention will be the biggest challenge this winter. They need new hope. It is why I’ve called on ministers to urgently introduce a Burnout Prevention Strategy, guaranteeing leave and improving staff conditions to stop a stampede for the exit. Then we need to get serious about putting in place the workforce that the NHS needs to flourish. If Humza Yousaf can't do that, we will also need a new Health Secretary."