Nursing survey reveals a profession at risk of disintegration

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged the Health Secretary to get to grips with the conditions facing NHS nurses, after a new survey from the Royal College of Nursing revealed that more than 60% are considering leaving their current post. 

The survey’s key findings include: 

  • 61% of nursing staff in Scotland are thinking about leaving their current post. 
  • From this figure, 41% said they are considering leaving, with 20% actively planning on leaving. 
  • In comparison, the RCN’s UK wide Pay and Working Conditions survey, undertaken at the beginning of the pandemic found that 36% respondents were thinking about leaving that year. 
  • Key reasons for thinking of leaving include feeling undervalued, feeling under too much pressure, low staff levels and low pay. 
  • Nearly 40% of nursing staff are working beyond their contracted hours most shifts. 
  • 67% say they are too busy to provide the level of care they would like. 
  • 72% are under too much pressure at work. 

Freedom of information requests submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats to all of Scotland's health boards recently revealed that in 2020/21, 149,990 days of nursing and midwifery time were lost due to mental ill health. 

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:   

“Day after day nurses have gone above and beyond the call of duty, putting their own lives at extra risk to care for others. For some it has just been too much. These figures show that the profession is at risk of disintegration. 

“The Health Secretary should spend a day on the frontline and see what they are going through.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for an urgent new Burnout Prevention Strategy to guarantee leave, ensure safe levels of staffing and ensure that the Health Secretary acts to tackle missed waiting times targets. In parliament Green and SNP MSPs chose not to back these measures. 

“After the toughest stretch of their careers, NHS nurses and midwives need new hope and I want my party to provide that. Nurses need to know that there is someone in their corner.”

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