Nicola Sturgeon grilled on 3,000 medical staff shortage in Scotland ahead of winter crisis

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Scotland’s First Minister was quizzed on her plans to replace 2,500 student nurses and 500 trainee doctors in time for the second wave of COVID-19. Ms Sturgeon told First Minister’s Questions that there will be a winter workforce plan published by the Scottish Health Secretary that will provide details regarding the recruitment process. 

Ms Davidson, the Scottish Conservative Party’s Holyrood Leader, said: “Over the coming months, bed capacity will be absolutely critical but so will the availability of frontline health workers in our hospitals.

“In the first wave of this pandemic, we were able to rely on the superb efforts of nursing and medical students through those difficult months.

“Nearly 2,500 student nurses and 500 trainee doctors joined through the COVID accelerated recruitment programme.

“However, as the Scottish Government’s winter preparedness plan also makes clear ministers believe it would not be appropriate to mobilise that group of students, in the same way, this time around because they are not as far through their training.”

She added:”That is entirely understandable, but it does leave a very substantial gap, 3,000 people who are not going to be available to help in our hospitals during the second wave.

“The winter preparedness plan gives no detail on how it will find or recruit extra staff in the absence of student mobilisation.

“Can the First Minister give details of where that recruitment will come from?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “We, of course, continue to have access to the GMC emergency register, we have the pool of returners as well that we are able to draw on.

“There is a winter workforce plan that is currently being finalised and that will be published by the Health Secretary shortly.

“We are continuing to plan on a contingency basis across all these different aspects of what is required to ensure the response from the NHS those with and without COVID have a right to expect.”

More to follow…

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