This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
£1m to help nurses return to practice
A £1 million initiative aimed at encouraging nurses and midwives to return to practice across Scotland was announced today.
The Return to Practice programme has been running in six areas of Scotland and from now it will run across NHSScotland for the next two years, by which time we believe the bulk of nurses and midwives who could return will have returned. The programme provides funding of £1,500 for each person who wishes to return to work and covers the costs of:
- Course fees
- Travel expenses to the course and practice placement
- Child care costs
- Payment for the period of supervised practice of £1,000
Announcing the roll-out, Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said:
"Nurses and midwives are the heart of the NHS. To the public they are the visible symbol of the health service and they play an increasingly valuable role in delivering changes and improvements in more person-centred services.
"The Executive and NHSScotland will do all it can to encourage people into nursing, into midwifery, and into the NHS.
"One significant success has been the six pilot Return to Practice Programmes. To date this has allowed 126 nurses and midwives return to the health service, both in hospital and primary care settings and 150 will have completed the programme in the 6 areas by March next year.
"The programme has and will remove obstacles to allow experienced nurses and midwives to return to the health service. And crucially, it will be linked to an offer of employment within NHSScotland.
"We have seen from the pilots that the majority of returners would not have considered coming back without the programme. The majority is now employed in NHSScotland.
"This is a small but significant investment - helping experienced nurses get back to work and helping NHSScotland with recruitment and retention."
James Kennedy, RCN Scotland Secretary, said:
"RCN Scotland's Value Nurses campaign called for urgent action to support experienced nurses who want to return to the NHS. I am delighted that the Scottish Executive is demonstrating its commitment to this by rolling the return to practice initiative out across NHSScotland. We are confident it will help to reduce the number of vacant nursing posts in Scotland and relieve the workload pressure that nurses in the NHS currently face."
The six Return to Practice pilots ran in Glasgow, Lothian, Ayrshire and Arran, Forth valley, Fife and Grampian. As part of Facing the Future, £250,000 was made available to fund the programmes.
£500,000 will be given to NHSScotland in 2002-03 and £500,000 in 2003-04.
Before the pilots were introduced a questionnaire was sent to 5,800 lapsed registrants with Glasgow postcodes. Of the 900 nurses and midwives who replied, 190 said they would be interested in returning to practice. Funded Return to Practice programmes were cited as the most important factor for encouraging them back to the health services.
From this sample it is estimated that at least 400 nurses and midwives across Scotland may wish to return to work, however this funding allows for 600. After this concerted effort there are likely to be a trickle of returners year on year, which Trusts can cope with from existing resources.