Shortage of staff nurses taking its toll on NHS

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NHS Borders is now using up to 20 bank and agency staff a day to cover for shortages of staff nurses in the region, it has emerged.

At the end of November last year, NHS Borders said it was “proactively filling” 53 vacant nursing posts.

However, a source has revealed that on each day of last week, the nursing complement in the region was 90 short of the level it should have been, leaving the remaining staff under “tremendous pressure” and forcing the health board to engage of up to 20 agency staff per day.

NHS Borders released a statement from June Smyth, director of workforce and planning, and Evelyn Rodger, director of nursing, midwifery and acute services.

It read: “In some instances, it is necessary to fill shifts with nurse bank or agency staff and this is done as far in advance as possible. It can prove challenging when there is short notice staff sickness.”