Scottish nurses 'demoralised and driven out of work' by 'poor culture'

A survey found 80% of nurses found staffing levels on their last shift were not sufficient enough.

Nurses are being “driven out of work” in Scotland by insufficient staffing levels and a “poor culture,” according to a new report.

Healthcare professionals say they have “had enough” of inadequate and dangerously low staff numbers in hospitals across the country which pose a risk to patient care.

A survey from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found more than 80% of respondents reported staffing levels on their last shift were not sufficient enough to meet the needs of patients.

In her keynote address to the RCN’s annual congress in Glasgow, which kicked off on Sunday, general secretary Pat Cullen will warn it is time to “break the cycle” after 25,000 nurses left the profession last year alone.

“Our new report lays bare the state of health and care services across the UK,” she is due to say.

“Nursing staff are being driven out by the current way of working – the shortage of staff and too often the poor culture.

“To those from Government listening to my words – we have had enough.

“The patients and those we care for have had enough.

“We are tired, fed up, demoralised, and some of us are leaving the profession because we have lost hope.”

The RCN survey also found only a quarter of shifts had the planned number of registered nurses, a sharp fall from 42% in 2020 and 45% five years ago.

Meanwhile, four out of five respondents said staffing levels on their last shift were not enough to meet all the needs of their patients.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie accused the Scottish Government of “failing” the nursing profession.

She added: “Our nursing staff work tirelessly on the frontline of our NHS but they have been failed by the SNP for 15 years. Staff are overworked, underpaid, and safe staffing legislation, passed unanimously by the parliament in 2019, has still not been implemented.

“If action is not taken now to support nursing staff and deliver safe staffing levels then further lives will be risked.”

The Scottish Government said it was “immensely grateful” for the work of nurses during the Covid pandemic, adding the £1bn NHS recovery plan included funding to “enhance staffing levels”.

A spokesperson said: “The 2021-22 pay uplift saw staff receive an average 4% pay rise, the highest in the UK and we are currently discussing a pay deal for NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) staff in 2022-23 with trade unions and employers, which will be backdated to April 1.

“We remain committed to ensuring that NHS Scotland AfC continue to have the best pay and conditions of AfC staff in the UK.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to supporting NHS staff, and this year we have made £12m available to support workforce wellbeing, we will continue to engage with our staff to ensure they get the necessary support they need.”

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