Scotland will need more senior nurses on higher pay to meet the challenges of a seven day NHS or patient safety may be at risk, a nursing union has warned.
The Royal College of Nursing said senior decision-making nurses such as senior charge nurses, specialist nurses and advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) will be crucial to the successful delivery of seven day care.
It has urged the Scottish Government to put money into proper training, warning that nurses cannot just be thrown into senior roles as this is “neither fair, nor safe for the individual nurse, the nursing team or their patients”.
Speaking ahead of the RCN conference in Bournemouth today, RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “Last year, we published the nursing contribution to seven day care, which sets out a series of nursing solutions and the contribution that nurses can - and should - make to achieve the Scottish Government’s ambitions around the provision of seven day care.
“As the biggest single workforce in the NHS, nurses are crucial to the successful delivery of seven-day care, particularly senior decision-making nurses such as senior charge nurses, specialist nurses and advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs).”
She added: “We’re working with the Scottish Government on a number of groups looking at how we deliver care at all times of the day and night.
“But we need to have the right workforce who can make the difficult and often complex clinical decisions in the right place at the right time to improve patient care and outcomes.
“ANPs and other senior decision-making nurses will be crucial to this. But they cannot be thrown into these advanced roles, without the proper training, skills and experience - this is neither fair, nor safe for the individual nurse, the nursing team or their patients.
“The Scottish Government therefore needs to invest in developing these nurses for the future and health boards must renumerate them at Band 7 or above, if seven-day care is to become a reality and the NHS to be sustainable for the future.”