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01/12/15 10:38

NHS workforce at record level

Workforce statistics published.

The number of staff working in Scotland’s NHS is at a record high, having increased by more than 10,600 whole time equivalent (WTE) employees under the current government.

Figures, released by ISD Scotland today, show that WTE staffing levels are up 8.4 per cent since September 2006.

The statistics for the year ending September 2015 show an increase of 1,043.2 WTE employees compared with the same period of the previous year.

The biggest increase over the past year was seen in nursing and midwifery, with a rise of 515.6 WTE employees. There is now more than 2,000 additional WTE qualified nurses and midwives working in Scotland’s NHS compared to September 2006.

The number of medical and dental consultants, including consultant grade directors, in post saw an annual increase of 2.6 per cent, bringing the total number of WTE consultants working in Scotland NHS to 5,101.4.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Under this government, NHS staff numbers have risen significantly, with more consultants, nurses and midwives now delivering care for the people of Scotland.

“To give people the high quality health care they deserve, we are investing in and supporting a highly skilled NHS Scotland workforce. Over the past year, this includes an additional 600 WTE nurses and midwives.

“In addition to having record staffing levels, Scotland is leading the UK in the development of mandatory nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning tools that help health boards to plan for the number of staff they require. By using these tools, health boards can make sure they have the right number of staff required to provide the best possible care for patients in a variety of specialities.

“The recent rise in nursing and midwifery vacancies is due to the creation of new posts in health boards, mainly as a result of information from the workload and workforce planning tools. Several health boards have received additional investment to increase their nursing numbers and are in the process of recruiting these additional nurses. Additional posts have also been created across health boards to deal with winter pressures.

“We are committed to training and retaining our nursing staff and in January we announced a three per cent increase in pre-registration student nursing and midwifery intakes – a third successive rise. This is in addition to the six per cent rise in 2014/15.

“In January we also announced £450,000 funding over the next three years to reintroduce a national return to practice scheme. The scheme is well underway and has already attracted around 100 former nurses who wish to get back into the profession.

"We know our NHS faces many pressures and is treating more patients, with more complex illnesses, than ever before. Despite these pressures, the fantastic staff working in the NHS continue to deliver high quality care.”

Notes to editors

Full access to the statistical publication can be accessed on the ISD Scotland website:

ISD figures for the number of consultants do not include consultant-grade directors.