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Scotland’s NHS ‘cannot survive’ its workforce crisis without real change, Scottish Labour warns

SCOTTISH Labour has said that Scotland’s NHS “cannot survive” its workforce crisis without real change.

Patient numbers have increased rapidly over the last decade as the number of GPs has fallen, according to statistics released by Public Health Scotland.

There were 5.6 million patients in 2013 and almost 6m in 2022, while GP numbers have fallen from 3,675 to 3,494 over the same period.

Yet there were some 6,319 nursing and midwifery vacancies across Scotland as of September 2022.

Scottish Labour said the issues date back to outgoing First Secretary Nicola Sturgeon’s time as health secretary, when nursing training places were cut, but she said the NHS had reached “crisis” under current Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

The British Medical Association holds that Scotland is now 1,000 GPs short, while the Scottish government aims to recruit just 800 more by 2027.

And the Royal College of Nursing point to not only 6,319 nursing and midwifery vacancies, but also a 13 per cent rise in nurses leaving the profession in Scotland — greater than any other part of the UK.

Scottish health spokeswoman Jackie Ballie said: “The next first minister must make NHS workforce planning a priority, because the health service cannot survive more of the same.

“Nicola Sturgeon made the cuts at the root of this crisis and Humza Yousaf has let things escalate even further.

“This cannot continue — these staffing shortages are at the heart of the chaos in our NHS, leaving dedicated NHS staff exhausted and putting patients at risk.

“The current NHS workforce plan is not worth the paper it’s written on.

“After more than a decade of failed workforce planning under the SNP, we need change.”

The SNP was contacted for comment.

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