Comment: We have to make nursing an attractive job

Nurses attend to a cut finger. File picture: Ian Georgeson
Nurses attend to a cut finger. File picture: Ian Georgeson
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THE news that NHS Lothian is under pressure on recruitment will come as no surprise.

New figures, however, show just how critical the situation has become.

With one in six nurses on the verge of retirement over the next decade, there are even warnings today shortages could threaten patient safety.

An ageing and growing population is continuing to place an increasing demand on healthcare services.

Add into that the uncertainty caused by Brexit on both staff who are already here and others who may be attracted to fill vacancies and it is starting to look very bleak indeed.

Health chiefs already cannot fill vacancies and the “retirement boom” as it is being called will only exacerbate that situation.

So what can be done?

The RCN is quite clear that the emphasis should be on increasing the training of new nurses now to help cope when serious problems emerge in four or five years’ time.

For that we need to ensure young people are being attracted to nursing as a career and properly rewarded for the demanding lifesaving role which they will be expected to perform.

It is also important not to lose the experience of older nurses completely and look at ways to perhaps retain their services, perhaps away from frontline care.

Again, the terms of any such deal would have to be made attractive.

All of which takes one thing – money. Something which is in short supply across public services.

Set for stardom

well done to Taylor Torkington. The 11-year-old is swapping the St Mary’s Cathedral choir for his first leading role in Oliver! at the Playhouse – not bad for a first gig! Good luck Taylor.