Nurse and midwife training places boosted by over 10%

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The RCN thinks more needs to be done to make nursing attractive as a profession, especially in the care home sector.

The Scottish government is is to fund about 360 extra training places for nurses and midwives in the next year.

The health secretary said nurses are at the core of new health care models and the Scottish government is doing all it can to boost recruitment.

Shona Robison said the 10.8% increase would take the number entering the profession from 3,360 to 3,724.

The new intake would boost student numbers to a record high of more than 12,000, Ms Robison said.

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The government is trying to bring former nurses and midwives back into practice

She added: "This 10.8% increase - the sixth increase in a row - is just one step to sustain that into the future, ensuring we recruit and retain the next generation of staff.

"We have retained bursaries and free tuition for nursing and midwifery students.

"We intend to extend and increase successful initiatives, which bring former nurses and midwives back into practice. And we are improving access to education and careers in the professions."

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The health minister met 89 year old Margaret Horsfield at Erskine home in Renfrewshire before making the announcement

Ms Robison told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We have been working hard to make sure we are extending the return to practice - we had over 300 nurses return and that is great because these are nurses who have experience.

"This year we will be running a marketing campaign to get more people to think about nursing as a career.

"We are extending the opportunity to study at Open University, making it easier to come into nursing."

Ms Robison also said she was trying to address the difficult working conditions for those already working to stop nurses choosing to leave the profession.

She said on the programme : "Pay is important but it is also about making sure that in their experience and the job the nurses undertake, we are getting that supply of nurses so we can make sure their workload is tackled and we can make sure people enjoy coming to their work.

"That is very very important as well."

The Royal College of Nursing said the rise was welcome, but that more needed to be done to make nursing attractive as a profession.

Scotland associate director Ellen Hudson said Scotland needed more nurses.

'Right direction'

She added: "Over the past year we have seen the highest ever rates of nursing vacancies within our NHS and significantly higher levels of nursing vacancies within the care home sector.

"Nurses are struggling to deal with increased workloads and we know more nurses will be retiring over the coming years."

Ms Hudson said recent surveys had shown a lack of nursing staff was having an impact on patient care.

She said: "Today's announcement on student places for 2018-19 is a move in the right direction.

"We are pleased that the Scottish government has listened to our concerns and has recognised that in recent years Scotland has simply not been training enough nurses."

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