UNISON Scotland response to NHS workforce report 2023

Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “This report confirms that the NHS is in the midst of a staffing crisis and the increased dependency on agency staff to plug gaps is a massive drain on NHS funds – money that would be better spent treating patients and investing in the workforce. 

“Our nursing survey last month showed 94% of nurses have experienced understaffing, with almost three quarters (72%) saying this happened on a daily basis. There is just too few nurses to be able to do the job properly and staff are struggling to provide patients with the care they deserve.” 

Wilma Brown, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “UNISON Scotland has warned of the crisis for over a decade. There has been a collective failure by the Scottish government to respond properly to the identifiable pressures in the NHS in Scotland. The current problems caused by the failure to invest in social care, an ageing workforce, stagnating pay, and delays in filling vacancies were all predicted by UNISON. 

“UNISON is participating in the Scottish government’s Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce but we now need real progress; not more reports, announcements and talking shops. The Scottish government must improve working conditions and bring our NHS back to full health.”

Notes for editors:

  • UNISON is the largest union in the NHS representing 50,000 NHS workers across Agenda for Change including: nurses, midwives, managers, domestics, porters, admin workers and others. The union has membership in every health board in Scotland. Agenda for Change (NHS terms and conditions) covers most health workers in the NHS apart from doctors and dentists.
  • You can read UNISON Scotland’s nursing survey here.
  • You can read UNISON Scotland’s briefing on the NHS staffing crisis here.
  • You can read the full NHS workforce report 2023 here.
  • Wilma Brown: 07974 027847
  • Matt McLaughlin: 07904 341979
  • Trisha Hamilton: 07943 507307
  • Danny Phillips: 07717 715277 / 07944 664110