The SNP Government is investing in the NHS workforce of the future with a 5.6% increase in trainee nurses and midwives confirmed for 2016/17.
This is the fourth successive annual rise and will take next year’s recommended intake to 3,209 students.
The new places will sustain the substantial increases to the NHS workforce under the SNP, including the number of qualified nurses and midwives increasing by over 2,000 whole time equivalent staff.
The SNP Government will also, for the first time, project student intake figures over a three year period with a built-in annual review. Initiating three year projections will help predict student numbers needed and will be carried out in partnership with all stakeholders.
Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary and allowances are to be protected for 2016/17 with a review of the bursary scheme on-going to report in June 2016.
Local MSP Kenneth Gibson welcomed this announcement:
“We are committed to investing in frontline spending and our Draft Budget outlined an additional £500 million for health boards in 2016/17, bringing the overall health budget to a record total of just under £13 billion.
“The planned increase in student numbers builds on this and highlights our continuing support for the NHS, even as the Tories at Westminster relentlessly cut Scotland's budget year on year.
“This fourth consecutive rise in nursing and midwifery training places comes on top of the 3% increase the SNP Government announced earlier this year. This is the kind of careful long term planning and investment our NHS needs.
“We will protect the Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary for 2016/17. This package of support remains distinctive and generous compared to England. Our approach to student support – alongside our commitment to free tuition fees – is in stark contrast with actions of the UK Government where free nursing tuition and bursaries are to be removed entirely.
“There is no doubt that there is pressure on our NHS as it rises to the demands of dealing with an ageing population. However, by working with partners, and investing in the future workforce, we can continue to ensure that our health service provides first class care for generations to come.”
Earlier this year the SNP Government also announced an investment of £450,000 over three years for a Return to Practice scheme to encourage former nurses and midwives back into the profession. It is expected that around 200 former nurse and midwives will take up the opportunity this year and re-enter employment through this scheme, well above the target of 75.