MORE than a quarter of Scottish nurses placed under supervision as they cannot be trusted to be left alone are working in Lothian hospital wards, new figures have revealed.
Despite being fully qualified, there are 27 nurses in the region whose performances have been deemed so poor that bosses have had to arrange for more senior staff to watch over them.
The data, revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that seven of the staff members in “management of employee capability” programmes were working in the Royal Infirmary, the region’s main acute hospital.
No other health board in Scotland reported having a higher number of nurses under supervision, with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, a far larger organisation, saying it had 24 who had to be monitored.
Politicians said the figures – which do not include those ordered to be supervised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – would give patients cause for concern.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “When young nurses begin in a job, it’s right that – if they are struggling with a certain area of work – they are given all the help possible to adapt.
“However, there has to be a line, and that has to come before significant time and resources are spent on someone who simply isn’t suited to the job.
“Patients are very understanding when it comes to student or newly-qualified nurses being assisted to learn their trade. But they are less happy about being treated by a nurse who is not trusted by management to be left alone with a patient.”
Across Scotland, around 100 nurses are currently being supervised. The Royal College of Nursing Scotland said the figure was “tiny” compared to the 57,000 nurses working in the country.
Sarah Ballard-Smith, NHS Lothian’s deputy nurse director, said 3000 nurses worked in the Royal Infirmary alone.
She added: “We are committed to supporting and developing all our nursing staff and have policies and procedures in place to do this.
“The very small number of staff who are not achieving the required level are assisted in order to help them improve their performance.
“These members of staff are monitored and a tailored action plan is developed in order to match their individual needs. This adds to our personal development planning and review processes which are delivered on a continual basis.”