The number of staff working in Scotland’s NHS has risen to a record high. The figures, released by ISD Scotland, show that since September 2006 the NHS Scotland workforce, excluding GPs and dentists, has increased by 9.0%, with almost 11,400 more whole time equivalent (WTE) staff.
There are now 161,656 people employed by the NHS in Scotland, with 99.6% of all care delivered by staff on NHS contracts.
The number of consultants is at a record high, with 5,195.0 WTE in place –an increase of 3.9% when compared to March 2015.
Consultant vacancy rates have decreased over the past year, dropping from 7.7% in March 2015 to 6.5% in March 2016.
Since September 2006, NHS Scotland nursing and midwifery staff have increased by 4.6%, bringing the total number of WTE posts to 59,372.4.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said:
“Under this Government, NHS staff numbers have risen significantly, with more consultants, nurses and midwives and allied health professionals now delivering care for the people of Scotland.
“This demonstrates that, to give people the high quality health care they deserve, we are investing in and supporting a highly skilled NHS Scotland workforce.
Stuart McMillan (SNP – Greenock & Inverclyde) added:
“In addition to having record staffing levels, Scotland is leading the UK in developing mandatory nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning tools that help health boards to plan for the number of staff they require, ensuring the best possible care for patients.
“The use of agency nursing, and midwifery staff spend on agency nurses, has fallen since 2006 and the £23.5 million spent in 2015/16 is down by 11.3% from £26.47 million in 2005/06. Agency use for 2015/16 equates to 0.4% of overall staffing numbers.
“We know our NHS faces many pressures and is treating more patients, with more complex illnesses, than ever before. Despite these pressures, the fantastic staff working in the NHS continue to deliver high quality care.”