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Nurse Statistics Cause Concern
Fears have been raised over the increasing number of nurses and midwives within NHS Lanarkshire who are nearing retirement age.
Figures, obtained by Conservative Central Scotland MSP Graham Simpson, show 18.6 per cent of nurses out of the 5906 in the health board are aged 55 or over, meaning nearly a fifth will be retiring at some point over the next decade.
He claims that will leave a massive gap in the workforce, at a time when it’s already difficult to recruit nurses. In 2011 the figure was 15.3 per cent in that age bracket.
He said, “Older nurses are invaluable to the NHS and provide much commitment and experience. But as these figures show, we cannot rely on them forever.
“Across NHS Lanarkshire nearly a fifth of the nursing and midwifery workforce will be retiring over the next decade. That’s going to leave a gaping hole at the heart of our health service.
“And considering the Scottish Government is already finding it difficult to fill nursing vacancies, unless it acts now, the problem is going to get significantly worse.”
The figures also reveal there has been a slight rise in the percentage of those aged between 60 and 64 from 4.43 per cent to 4.93 per cent between 2015 and 2016, while the percentage of nurses aged 65-plus remained at 0.66 per cent.
Anne Armstrong, nurse director of North Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “These figures demonstrate our dual commitment of recruiting additional staff and retaining our current nurses and midwives. The figures show that we have an extra 108 nurses and midwives since 2015 and 412 more than 2011. We continue to take steps to recruit to ensure we have the right number of staff to deliver our services now and in the future. Funding has also been made available to recruit over 100 newly qualified nurses who are due to start in October 2016.
“Age is no longer an indication of retirement intentions. While some staff can retire, it does not mean that they plan to do so. In addition, our new recruits benefit from the expertise and knowledge of their more experienced colleagues.”