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Huge increase in number of unfilled nursing posts  

Scottish Labour found there were 615.7 vacancies in 2011 compared to 2789.2 last at September.

Health: The student intake fell from 3,505 in 2010/11 to 2,713 in 2012/13.
Health: The student intake fell from 3,505 in 2010/11 to 2,713 in 2012/13. David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The number of unfilled nursing and midwifery posts in the Scottish NHS has soared since 2011.

New analysis of official figures carried out by Scottish Labour shows there were 615.7 vacancies in 2011 compared to 2789.2 at September 2017.

The student intake fell from 3,505 in 2010/11 to 2,713 in 2012/13.

Labour have blamed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's decision to cut training places when she was health secretary.

The Royal College of Nursing warned at the time the move ran the risk that there would not be enough professionally qualified nurses graduating to meet future demands.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "When Nicola Sturgeon decided to slash training places for nurses and midwives, she claimed it was a sensible decision.

"Instead that generation of students graduate to a health service that has seen the number of unfilled posts soar every year since.

"During that period, nurses - along with the wider public sector workforce - have faced a pay restraint policy which has forced staff out of the profession or into private agencies."

Mr Sarwar claimed Scottish hospitals don't have enough staff.

He added: "It was a spectacular error of judgement that has piled the pressure on our hospitals, and let patients down."

The Labour Party has established a Workforce Commission in a bid to develop a blueprint to address the NHS "staffing crisis".

A Scottish Government spokesman said a 10.8% increase in student nursing and midwifery intakes for 2018/19 was the sixth successive annual rise, and would provide 364 extra places and take the total to 3,700.

He said: "Our commitment to supporting and sustaining the workforce also includes widening access to training, attracting back former registrants and, unlike England, we have retained bursaries and free tuition for nursing and midwifery students.

"We are also committed to creating an estimated 2,600 new training places over this parliament, recruiting and retaining the next generation of staff as well as enshrining safe staffing in law and placing our innovative nursing and midwifery workload tools on a statutory footing."

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