There are now more qualified nurses and midwives since the SNP came to office. We’ve also committed to enshrining safe staffing levels for our NHS in law.
Unlike the UK Government, we are completely committed to maintaining a nursing bursary and free university tuition, ensuring that we continue to attract the best people to train for nursing and midwifery roles. This year we will increase grants for care experienced student nurses to £8,100 a year and next year we will raise the grant for all student nurses to the same level. The year after that we will increase bursaries to £10,000 a year.
We are investing £2 million in additional training for GP nurses, and delivering an estimated 2,600 more training places for nurses and midwives.
We are also investing in the workforce by training an additional 500 advanced nurse practitioners, who will treat more people in the community and play an important role in the integrated health care of the future.
We will pilot a new programme of Experienced Practice Advisers in nursing, midwifery and health visiting. Up to 100 of these mentors will be recruited from recently retired staff, using their very valuable skills, their knowledge, their hard-won experience.
Nurses in Scotland, across all bands, are better paid than anywhere in the UK. The pay cap, while never desirable, was necessary to protect jobs and services. But with inflation on the rise, it is not sustainable.
We have now lifted the cap on public sector wage increases. Public servants earning less than £30,000 will receive a 3 per cent increase, those earning above £30,000 will receive a 2 per cent increase and we will cap increases for those earning more than £80,000.