The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for an urgent new Burnout Prevention Strategy to guarantee leave, ensure safe levels of staffing and tackle missed waiting times targets. The Party’s call came after a new survey from the Royal College of Nursing showed that more than 60% of nurses are considering leaving their current post.
South Lanarkshire Council’s Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Robert Brown, backed the call and said that NHS nurses had had a tough time right through Covid but that it was now urgent to look at changes that could be made now and in the longer term to provide new hope and support for nurses and for patients faced with soaring waiting lists.
In addition, Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats to all of Scotland's health boards recently revealed that in 2020/21, 149,990 days of nursing and midwifery time were lost due to mental ill health.
Robert Brown said:
“People in all walks of life have seen their lives damaged by Covid and the pressures it puts on families. However many nursing staff have been at the front throughout with work pressures ratcheting up steadily over the past 2 years. Nurses have been asked to take on more and more functions too. We cannot risk a large number of nurses looking elsewhere for their careers. Now that the Covid levels seem to be falling at last, the Scottish Government and the Health Boards need to come up with a plan of action to stabilise the nursing profession.
Taken along with the health pressures, the figure of 60% thinking of leaving nursing now compares with 36% in another survey before the pandemic so there can be no doubt about the trend. Almost 40% of nurses worked beyond their contracted hours most shifts.
Front line nurses are pretty dedicated but they need to see some light at the end of the tunnel – some indication that things will change for the better for them in their working lives soon.
We need a new strategy to guarantee leave, provide safe levels of staffing and tackle missed waiting times targets.
In South Lanarkshire, which has seen some of the greatest pressures with a Code Black declared by the Health Board, the position is particularly pressing.”