- To what scale does the NHS depend on nurses?
- Are the Scottish NHS nurses satisfied with the new pay increase offer?
- Why does the NHS have to make better job conditions available for nurses?
Scottish NHS nurses have held strikes in a pay dispute until they persuaded the government to increase their wages. The new payment offer will please the staff for a while and can help with the health service in Scotland. Nevertheless, the government must set a comprehensive and long-term strategy to recruit and keep nurses.
Nursing Plays a Vital Role in NHS
NHS Scotland employs around 160,000 staff across 7 Special NHS Boards and one public health panel. NHS Scotland provides primary care and surgery healthcare services, nursing and midwifery, medicines and pharmacy, and urgent and emergency care. The nursing, midwifery, and health professions workforce plays a vital role in health service in Scotland. The NHS has prepared a detailed action plan to develop nursing services.
NHS Will Develop Nursing Services
Scottish NHS nurses form the most significant single profession of the organization’s staff. NHS Scotland has set a long-term strategy for the Scottish NHS nurses to prepare them for future needs. The requirements include immediate and future physical, psychological, social, and family supports to help their health and well-being. The plan will also prepare professional nurses for the ageing population.
Future Society Will Need Nurses More
Population ageing will require services for diverse needs according to older people’s conditions. The health service in Scotland will need enough professional nurses to look after a more ageing population. Moreover, the NHS must protect and promote Scottish NHS nurses’ well-being and keep them in their careers longer. Fewer nurses will leave the NHS if satisfied with their job circumstances.
Sustainable Workforce Secures Health Service
Any workforce shortage would impact the other staff’s morale and physical well-being. That also leads to workloads and a lower standard of care, and poorer work quality. The Scottish government should take proper measures to prevent the departure of the NHS nursing staff. It should improve health services in Scotland and keep a sustainable workforce by addressing low pay and poor staffing.
Scottish NHS Nurses Are Disappointed
During the Covid pandemic, Scottish NHS nurses were at the heart of health care while tolerating immense job pressure. However, 75% of nurses felt undervalued and unappreciated as they did not receive additional money for their extra work. Approximately 6 in 10 nurses considered quitting jobs because of excessive work pressure. There are thousands of nursing vacancies across NHS Scotland hospitals and the social care sector.
NHS Nurses Deserve Generous Support
NHS Scotland has already decided to recruit nurses from overseas to fill high levels vacancy and ease the workforce crisis. The Scottish public deserves high-quality care, and the NHS expanded the staff number. Scottish NHS nurses also deserve high-quality careers and a respectful job. Health service in Scotland highly depends on professional nurses at all bodies, and nurses should have the government’s support.
Nurses Demand Higher Wages
Scottish NHS nurses have held widespread strike actions in late 2022 and early 2023. They demanded pay rises as the cost-of-living crisis hit their households’ budgets. The UK inflation is almost 11%, and nurses’ wages have not kept up with the inflation race. They need higher salaries to be able to afford their essentials like bills and food. An inflation-busting pay rise would prevent nurses from quitting their jobs.
Tough Conditions Exhaust NHS Staff
In the 12 months to September 2022, there was a 13% increase in Scottish NHS nurses quitting their jobs. Many of those who left were at work for less than a decade. Years of neglect and underfunding have forced nurses to abandon their profession. In the long term, the staff becomes exhausted and unable to keep up with the harsh career conditions.
Increasing Salaries Will Improve NHS
The NHS Scotland is the largest employer in this country, and the government should invest in keeping the workforce. The Scottish government should have effective workforce planning based on the population’s needs. If the NHS prevents staffing shortages, it can improve health service in Scotland. NHS staff, especially nurses, should feel safe and secure to provide better care services. Increasing money is essential to keep and recruit more nurses in the NHS.
Better Strategies Support NHS Nurses
NHS Scotland is a devolved organisation; therefore, its responsibility rests with the Scottish government. Different regions will require healthcare specialists at diverse service boards. Nurses are helpful in both primary and secondary care services to provide general and hospital aid. Nurses would eagerly work if the government set a strategy to fund the NHS more and make better job conditions.
Government Offers a 6.5% Pay Rising.
The Scottish government has offered an additional budget to help NHS with staff payments. Scottish nursing unions and the Scottish held several meetings and discussed pay raises. The government has made a fresh proposal and offered additional pay for the NHS staff. Scottish NHS staff will receive an average 6.5% increase in earnings in 2023/24. Two large unions, including Unison and Unite, accepted the improved pay offer for Scottish NHS nurses.
Government Funds £568m to NHS.
The Scottish government offered the most significant pay package in health service history with a £568 million increase in investment. The government will modernize the NHS, support workforce recruitment and retain. The NHS Scotland has planned to fulfil previous commitments to work to reduce the nurses’ working week. The government offered the promises nearly 20 years ago but has not entirely fulfilled them.
Game-Changing Offers Are Needed
Undoubtedly, the strikes across Scotland resulted in constructive negotiations between the unions and the government. However, fresh pledges by the Scottish government are not guarantees for the future of the health care system. It should not delay measures for the coming years to protect health service in Scotland. The government must offer a game-changing retention package to solve the NHS staff recruitment and retention crisis.
Staff Should See Nursing as a Respectful Career
That is good that the government listened to the Scottish NHS nurses and offered changes for the following year. However, it took too long for the Scottish government to settle its previous claims. The Scottish government must improve working conditions to ensure the workforce can progress in their career. The government must have a long-lasting program to ensure people see nursing as an attractive, respectful, and rewarding career.
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