How we’re supporting a strong NHS workforce

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the staff who work in our NHS. Day in and day out, doctors, nurses and support staff deliver world class care for patients in Scotland.

Here’s how we’re working to maintain a strong NHS workforce.

Record high NHS staff levels

  • The number of staff working in Scotland’s NHS is at record high levels.
  • There are now over 21,500 more NHS staff since the SNP came to office, including more doctors, qualified nurses and midwives.
  • That’s a 15% increase in NHS staff levels under the SNP.

Record high NHS funding

  • The 2021/22 health portfolio spending will exceed £16 billion – record high funding for an NHS fit for the future.
  • Resource funding is up by over £6.4 billion – that’s a 70.8% increase since the SNP came into power.

Biggest NHS pay rise since devolution

  • Recognising their efforts during the pandemic, we have awarded NHS workers the biggest pay rise since devolution.
  • NHS medical and dental staff were awarded a 3% pay rise.
  • NHS Scotland Agenda for Change staff were given a pay increase of minimum 4%.
  • Those on the lowest pay points got an 5.4% rise – guaranteeing an uplift of at least £1,009.
  • That’s on top of the £500 thank-you payment to health and social care staff.

Best paid NHS staff anywhere in the UK

NHS staff in Scotland continue to be significantly better paid than NHS staff anywhere in the UK.

Relative to staff in England:

  • A porter at the top of Band 2 earns over £2,028 more
  • A healthcare assistant at the top of Band 3 earns over £2,211 more
  • A healthcare support worker at the top of Band 4 earns over £1,583 more
  • A ward nurse at the top of Band 5 earns over £1,994 more
  • A paramedic at the top of Band 6 earns nearly £2,467 more
  • An advanced nurse practitioner at the top of Band 7 earns over £2,898 more

More GPs, nurses and dentists per head than anywhere in the UK

  • There are around 840 qualified nurses and midwives per 100,000 people in Scotland.
  • In England, that’s just 586.
  • Scotland also has the most GPs per-head, at 94 per 100,000 people.
  • In England, that’s just 76 – and only 71 in Labour-run Wales.
  • Scotland also has the highest proportion of dentists, 63 per 100,000.
  • In England, that’s just 44.

Protecting student bursaries

  • We are protecting the non-means tested, non-repayable nursing and midwifery student bursary.
  • Those students are supported by £10,000 per year – the highest value nursing bursary anywhere in the UK.
  • On top of this, we’re maintaining free university tuition – which will always remain free under the SNP.
  • Both have been scrapped by the UK government for nursing and midwifery students in England.

Nursing and midwifery student numbers are on the rise

  • The number of student nurses and midwives entering Scottish Government funded degree programmes will increase by 5.8% in 2021/22.
  • Mental health nursing students are up by 13% on the previous year.
  • That’s the ninth successive increase in a row.

A new bursary scheme for paramedic students

  • Scottish student paramedics, studying in Scotland, will be able to apply for a bursary of £10,000 a year.
  • In England, the scheme announced by the UK government last year is only £5,000.

The best deal for taxpayers in Scotland

Under the SNP, taxpayers in Scotland get the most value anywhere in the UK.

  • No prescription charges.
  • No eye test charges.
  • Free dental care for under-26s.
  • Free period products.
  • Free personal and nursing care.
  • Free bus travel for under-22s and over-60s.

And much, much more – you can read about our record here. Together, let’s keep building a better Scotland.