Contrary to Royal ‘College’ of Nursing’s ill-informed carping, the SNP Administration future-proofs nursing in Scotland as NHS England enters a training and staffing crisis


UCAS has just reported a drop of 8% in entrants to nurse training, in England, in 2017, after the replacement of bursaries by loans. According to the Nursing Times, unions had already warned this change in funding would put off many applicants especially the much-wanted mature students. The latter group have fallen by 11% compared to 2016.

In Scotland the Royal College of Nursing, seemingly unaware of the situation in England have merely griped about the size of the increase in numbers (142 extra) in Scotland describing it as only ‘modest’ and saying the Scottish Government is failing to ‘future-proof’ the sector. Better a modest increase than a serious drop?

Are they failing to future-proof? See this published on 28th June this year:

‘More trainee nurses and midwives’

‘National workforce plan for future NHS staffing. An estimated 2,600 extra nursing and midwifery training places will be created over the next four years as part of wide-ranging measures to support and strengthen NHS Scotland’s workforce.’

Further and very relevant is the question: ‘What are they increasing from?’ As it turns out NHS Scotland is already far better staffed per capita than NHS England.

As of March 2017, 139 430 staff work in NHS Scotland. That’s up more than 12 300 under this administration. The population of Scotland is 5.3 million so that’s a ratio of 1 to 38. NHS England has just announced:

‘In December 2016, across Hospital and Community Healthcare Services (HCHS), the NHS employed (full-time equivalent): 106,021 doctors; 285,173 qualified nursing staff and health visitors; 21,604 midwives; 131,791 qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff; 19,392 qualified ambulance staff; 20,858 managers; and 9,866 senior managers. In September 2016, across general practice, there were (full-time equivalent): 33,804 GPs (excluding locums); 15,827 nurses in GP practices; 10,009 GP direct patient care staff; and 65,334 admin/non-clinical staff.’

That makes a total of 719 673 staff. The population of England is 53.01 million so that’s a ratio of 1 to 73. I may have missed something here but I can’t see what it is.

Further, even these NHS England figures may not be trustworthy. See this from the Guardian in 2016:

‘NHS [England] has 70,000 fewer staff, new figures reveal. Official numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives were inflated, latest figures show.  The NHS has a chronic shortage of staff, according to new figures’

The Royal College of Nursing, despite its highly pretentious and establishmentarian name is a trades union just like the RMT or Unison. It’s no way a college of any kind and its royalist pretentions weaken its credibility in a state-funded institution, I’d say. It’s just all about ‘wir members’ aspirations’. We get that.


11 thoughts on “Contrary to Royal ‘College’ of Nursing’s ill-informed carping, the SNP Administration future-proofs nursing in Scotland as NHS England enters a training and staffing crisis

  1. Brian August 26, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    The National should give you a full page every week. These good news stories need to be publicised and celebrated widely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 August 26, 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Thanks Brian. Previous National editor said my research in 2014 hadn’t proved bias in BBC. He liked appearing on it. Not sure I trust the National.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kenzie August 26, 2017 / 3:31 pm

        Quite right, too. Yo u said it yourself, they are (like the Sunday Herald) just another Trojan Horse.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. BSA August 26, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Whatever failings the National might have I can’t understand the distrust of it. It’s a commercial venture aimed at a market of half the Scottish population and it filled a much criticised gap in the MSM. I’m happy to buy it two or three times a week on these terms as long as newspapers survive and I can see nothing in it to suggest it is a liability for the independence movement – just the opposite. You would have to have a pretty fundamentalist view to want it to disappear. And a ‘Trojan Horse’ …. ?


    • johnrobertson834 August 27, 2017 / 8:53 am

      I am a fundamentalist re independence. The whole output should never attack the SNP and should always attack the Union. What better way to undermine the movement that to allow supposed supporters (Fry, McKenna) attack the SNP from within a supposedly pro-independence corporate outlet – Marx called it repressive tolerance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Clydebuilt August 27, 2017 / 9:54 am

        If the National is aimed at half the Scottish population and bearing in mind it’s the only daily claiming to support Independence, then it’s doing something wrong , the last daily sales I’ve heard were 10,000 per day. ( I’d stick Cat Boyd in there with Fry and McKenema.)

        Every paper published has a political addenda, only one paper (The National) declares its political addenda. Surely that limits its effectiveness as a tool for Indy.
        It’s mostly aimed at political Anoraks. Further limiting its readership. Was it designed as a safety valve for the Yes movement, whilst being of little use as a tool for Independence? If it was otherwise would it be allowed to exist?

        George Kerevan and Mhari Black think it’s worth contributing to as long as that’s the case I’ll continue to support The National

        McKenema’s headline in yesterday’s Herald contained the words…… “I still back independence BUT…..”


  3. johnrobertson834 August 27, 2017 / 10:52 am

    Safety valve? Yes that’s another good metaphor. Black and Kerevan have no choice but to contribute to try and shift the balance away from Fry and McEnema (nice shit man). But, in some ways their presence further empowers it as a Trojan horse by seeming to legitimise Fry and McKenna’s views?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Contrary August 27, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    Interesting comments here. Interesting thoughts on the National being one of the few newspapers to declare a political agenda, so it is filling a niche market, the mainstream do not have to declare political agenda because they are assuming, and expecting everyone else in the universe to assume, that support for the union is mainstream. So, just by making the newspaper different and declaring it for independence, they are encouraging the view that independence is just a fad, the alternate view – this is without bothering to consider content – as a published newspaper it has the potential to reach many people of all different viewpoints, but they (the newspaper group) have ensured it doesn’t. Essentially, you have to have already decided to support independence, or be seriously thinking of it before seeking out, say, independence supporting blogs, and the National is just another medium to seek out, not something to appeal to the wider population. A bit of ‘othering’ going on there I think.

    We all need fundamentalists for any changes to take place, most people are fairly placid and just let things carry on as they always have done. Would women have ever got the vote without fundamentalist campaigners chaining themselves to railings (etc)? They felt strongly enough to do this for all of us, and for future generations, at cost to themselves. Even then it was a slow process, and really you do forget just how relatively recently it was that women were ‘allowed’ to vote on an equal basis as men. We need outspoken people that are very firm in their beliefs to keep up the drive to make things happen, but it takes the majority support of the general population to make it a reality, everyone has a role to play.

    Anyway, it seems to me that the National is not exactly a Trojan Horse, but plays exactly the same role of other pro-indy news outlets (just in paper format), where you may or may not like the content. I mean, I don’t read CommonSpace because the content, or format, doesn’t appeal to me, but I can’t say if what they produce is good or bad for independence support. And I’m just going by what other people are saying about newspapers, I personally don’t like any of them 🙂


  5. johnrobertson834 August 27, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    Excellent points as always but I stick to my guns on the effect of the National and the Sunday Herald and even Common Space – they weaken the discipline in the movement and turn it in on itself to ruminate when it should blazing all guns on the Tories, all the time, no exceptions. Internal divisions will lose us the fight.


    • Contrary August 27, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      I will use my ‘agent provocateurs’ reasoning here to mostly agree with you. When I see whatever is the latest stooshie they’ve caused, it appears to me (I say appears, because I don’t read these outlets myself and I should not really comment) like their whole purpose is to cause the divisions, and just as religion was used in the past, so politics is being used now to cause divisions (just as, say, support of one King of whatever religion or the other may have caused some to not support independence even though they believed in it (as happened in Jacobean times), nowadays we are told labour or Tory ideology is not compatible with independence – this is not true, of course, and we need independence first, before poltical ideology can truly be expressed in a normal manner).

      The question at hand and what we all support, is independence for Scotland – this has nothing to do with other opinions on any other matter, and no one person is better or worse than any other for having a different opinion on any other matter. Differences, diversity and variety are good, we need all and sundry to make a truly vibrant society. As soon as I see nit-picking at others for their methods or strength of dedication, I think of how this is how the State works to make people believe other issues are more important, causing division and sniping, and inward focus – so yes, internal divisions are not good, it has always been a successful method employed by the State to keep the protesters from forming a coherent group that could stand up to them. Just because we all believe in independence does not mean we all agree, or should do, on other matters, but when discussing those other matters it should never be seen as a lack of belief in self determination, just because views may differ from our own.

      So when I see criticism, and character assassination, of people that are pro-indy- e.g. The SNP, but that hasn’t been enough lately, has it?, they’ve started on other folk that are doing the good work – and try to paint it as ‘we don’t want that sort in our group’, elitism if you like, they are acting as agent provocateurs, because it takes ALL sorts to make up a group, a country, a nation, so the Yes Movement cannot ever be selective in who represents it. If you don’t want to read or listen to certain people’s opinions, then just don’t (but make it your own personal choice, not because someone dictates what is right or wrong), we already get British nationalist propaganda shoved down our throats, do we really have to listen to a ‘one voice’ elitist independence body too? By trying to stamp out alternative independence voices, these outlets are suppressing the diversity of thought, by suggesting there is only one way to behave or think, they are narrowing support to fewer and fewer people.

      So, after that big long ramble, I do agree with you John, that those outlets are harmful, but not for the reasons you give – the State has politicised the independence question, and is forcing us to give reasoning within a political context – so, I don’t believe any one party should be singled out in the context of independence (I know this is impossible now, and I personally agree that the Tories,,, well, I agree with you about Tories, but these are personal opinions, we are just forced into associating them with a completely separate subject, but it should not be thus). We should be sidestepping actual party politics, reduce them to a by-play, they are not relevant to the issue at hand, however much they shout about it, they are a minority and only relevant in how much we want to use them to reach a goal. It is us, not the politicians, that have to want independence, they should not be leading on this, and the people that are trying to dictate how we behave because it reflects on the wider yes movement -tin foil hat warning – are just working in support of the State propaganda machine (knowingly or not). We also should not criticise their methods, if we don’t like them: blank them: by reacting and getting riled by their behaviour, we are just feeding the monster. We only need to agree on one subject – the rest can be dealt with by tolerance & consideration for others.


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