Government “burying its head in the sand” over NHS vacancies

I've told the Scottish Government to stop “burying its head in the sand” over vacancies in the NHS after new statistics showed the shortage of nursing staff and consultants.

Official statistics released today show consultant vacancies are up by 1% compared to a year earlier, rising to 6.8%, with half of current medical consultant vacancies lying vacant for 6 months or more.

The ISD Scotland figures also show 4.1% of nursing and midwifery posts were vacant, with more than 700 posts lying empty for 3 months or more – almost 200 more than at the same point a year earlier.

Last week Parliament endorsed my call to end the NHS recruitment crisis. Now these figures are the latest to prove what frontline professionals have told us time and time again.

Staffing isn’t keeping up with demand and posts are lying vacant for months on end. This is having a knock on effect on the quality of care provided to patients and the staff under pressure to provide cover.

The Scottish Government needs to get its head out of the sand and act now to take the pressure off hardworking NHS staff and deliver the sustainable workforce our health service needs.

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