NHS Scotland workforce at record high

By Julie Griffiths on 07 March 2018 Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has published quarterly statistics showing that the Scottish NHS workforce is at record levels.

With more than 140,000 whole time equivalent staff, the number of midwives, doctors, dentists, nurses, allied health professionals, and support staff working across Scotland’s hospitals and in communities increased by almost 1000 in the past year alone.

NHS Scotland employed more than 44,000 qualified midwives and nurses as of 31 December 2017, an increase of 7.6% since September 2006.

RCM director for Scotland Mary Ross-Davie said: ‘This is a welcome rise and one that is needed to so that our maternity services can offer the level of care and support women, babies and their families need.

‘However, the rise masks a number of challenges for midwives and our maternity services. These include an aging midwifery workforce, which means we are seeing a rapid rise in the number of midwives retiring, along with a rising number of unfilled midwifery vacancies, many of which have been vacant for over three months.

'The number of midwifery vacancies in the system has tripled over the last five years, and the number of vacancies that have been vacant for more than three months has multiplied more than six-fold in the last five years. Any vacancy means we are missing a midwife, which means that their colleagues are facing increasing workloads.’

Mary added that the demands on midwives generally have also increased significantly in recent years as a result of the increased complexity of care that they have to provide.

‘Scotland is moving in the right direction but these underlying issues must also be tackled to ensure safe and high-quality care and the success of the Scottish Government plans for maternity services,’ she said.

The report statistics can be read here