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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Scottish Government announce 2,600 new nursing and midwifery training places

Written by The Press Association

About 2,600 training places for nurses and midwives will be created over the next four years, the Scottish Government has announced.

Ministers had already pledged 1,000 extra places during this Parliament, with a further 1,600 now added to that.

The places are part of a plan to strengthen the NHS workforce.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said increasing staff numbers was needed to meet increased demand for the health service.

Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats said the issue of nurses' pay needed to be addressed to recruit and retain more staff.

The national health and social care workforce plan also includes "return to practice" programmes aimed at attracting and retaining nursing staff, particularly in rural areas such as the north of Scotland, and up to 100 extra medical student places from next September.

Ms Robison (pictured, left) said: "The NHS workforce is at record levels in Scotland but it's clear that demand is going to continue to rise in the years ahead. Increasing staff numbers is part of the solution."

She added: "This first plan sets out how we intend to recruit, develop and retain the multi-disciplinary and flexible workforce we need to continue to deliver high-quality healthcare for the people of Scotland.

"Nursing and midwifery is by far the largest staff group in the NHS.

"Our projections show we will need to increase numbers in future years, so I'm pleased to be able to make the commitment to deliver an estimated 2,600 additional nursing and midwifery training places by the end of this Parliament.

"Along with our existing actions to increase the number of doctors, these steps are part of wide-ranging measures to support and sustain our workforce.

"They will be delivered in tandem with work to shift the balance of care and to ensure roles keep pace with changing needs.

"We will work closely with our partners in the coming months to finalise these plans."

A second plan will be published in the autumn covering social care, with a third for primary care around the end of the year.

A combined plan will then be published in 2018, the government said.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "Shockingly, this plan says nothing on scrapping the NHS pay cap.

"The SNP government remains in complete denial if it thinks it can attract and retain staff while delivering a real-terms pay cut every year.

"This is a delayed plan that can't even be published all at once.

"The Health Secretary calls it the beginning of a process - after a decade of SNP government, patients and staff deserve better than that."

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "To boost recruitment and retention, the Scottish Government should immediately scrap the NHS pay cap and give staff the resources and support they need to do their jobs."

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