In the Flagging Scotsman today:
‘Scots NHS ‘staffing crisis’ as thousands of nurses quit. The number of nurses leaving the NHS in Scotland has reached a new high prompting fears of a “staffing crisis” in hospitals. More than 4,300 nurses quit the service last year, it has emerged, while long-term consultant vacancies are also on the rise. The news was among a raft of gloomy NHS statistics which also showed more than 580 operations were cancelled in April because hospitals could not cope, longer waits in hard-pressed hospital emergency departments and fresh concerns over mental health treatment delays.’
Needless to say, ‘opposition’ politicians are given plenty space to confirm the presence of a crisis and to lay the blame for it at the door of the Scottish Government. If you’re feeling strong and stable in your gut, they can be read here:
Number of nurses in Scotland is growing steadily
On the number of nurses, here are some facts. In Nursing, excluding Midwifery, there were 56 468.2 FTE in NHS Scotland, in September 2017. So, the 4 300 leaving account for around 7% of the total and this includes those retiring. The Scotsman report does not tell us how many new entrants there have been in the same year nor does it give us the wider historical picture showing a steady and gradual increase in the number of nurses in NHS Scotland. See this:
Number of nurses in Scotland is nearly twice that per head of population, of England
In NHS England, the Kings Fund state:
‘The number of nursing staff (nurses and health visitors) has increased by 1.8 per cent from 281,064 FTEs in 2010 to 286 020 FTEs in 2017.’
The UK Government site says:
‘There were 314,966 Nurses & health visitors, an increase of 2,790 (0.9%) since 2014. There were 281,474 FTE Nurses & health visitors, an increase of 2,494 (0.9%) since 2014.
So, Scotland with only 10% of England’s population, has 19% of the number of nurses or nearly twice as many per head of population.
Consultant staffing in Scotland is 43% up under SNP
As of September 2017, there were 5 189.8 consultants working in NHS Scotland. Thought there were still 430.5 vacancies still to be filled, the shortage fell in the previous quarter by 9.6% and the annual overall number of consultants rose by 3.5%. Vacancy rates for consultants are also down from 8.3% in 2016 to 7.5% in 2017. More strikingly, consultant numbers have risen by 43.1% under the current government! To put that in context, overall NHS Scotland staffing has risen by 25.4% in the ten years of SNP administration.
Also, in 2017, the number of specialists in intensive care increased by 27.5% and the number of specialists in acute internal medicine increased by 49.2%!
NHS England cancelling operations at 3 times the rate of NHS Scotland
This piece is getting too long, so see this for more detail:
Update from reader Legerwood:
‘The number of operations carried out in April 2018 were 10% higher than in April 2017 so hardly surprising that the number cancelled for reasons other than clinical ones or the patient cancelling the op have increased compared to April 2017 – 587 vs 490 respectively. However, when the numbers are converted to percentages, which is the only way to make a valid comparison, then in April 2018 2.2% of operations were cancelled for other reasons compared to 2% in April 2017. Quite a different picture. Furthermore the percentage of ops cancelled by the patient or for clinical reasons were lower in April 2018 compared to April 2017.’
I haven’t tackled the mental health issue because I can’t find reliable figures.
Finally, the Scotsman has previous on this. See:
as does the Herald: