QUESTIONS have been asked after it was revealed that there are 30 vacancies at Inverclyde Royal.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have confirmed that there are 30.4 'whole time equivalent' (WTE) posts unfilled at the hospital.

Jamie Greene, the Greenock-born Tory MSP for West Scotland, has called on health secretary Jeane Freeman to step in and take action.

He said: "Despite the incredible work that the staff at Inverclyde Royal Hospital are currently doing, the fact that we are short of 21 full-time nurses will inevitably effect how the hospital will be run at a very busy period.

“The Scottish Government has encouraged a number of recruitment drives but they have had a very limited effect.

"It’s time that the Health Secretary acknowledged that something has to change."

But the government says it has increased the number of nursing and midwifery students and successfully encouraged former nurses and midwives to retrain.

The spokesperson said: “We are increasing the 2019/20 nursing and midwifery student intakes by 7.6 per cent - an extra 283 places.

"This is the seventh consecutive year of growth, equating to 4,006 entry places.

"We have also increased support for nursing and midwifery students with the non-means tested non-repayable bursary rising to £8,100 from 2019-20 and to £10,000 in 2020-21.

"As well as training new nurses and midwives, we’re encouraging former nurses and midwives to return through our Return to Practice scheme.

"Since April 2015 almost 460 former nurses and midwives have taken up the opportunity to retrain."

The government says it is increasing the number of medical places in Scottish universities from 848 to record high of 1,038.

Their spokesperson added: “We are investing over £4m over next three years in recruitment campaigns - focusing on attracting GPs, social care workers, nurses and midwives."

Health chiefs at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde say the current number of vacancies at IRH is 'small'and that safe staffing levels are always maintained.

The board told the Tele: "We have a total workforce of over 38,000 and with a workforce of this size we will always have a small number of vacancies within our clinical workforce.

"Inverclyde Royal Hospital currently has 1,453.93 whole time equivalent (WTE) staff.

"There are currently 30.4 WTE vacancies at the hospital, which represents a vacancy rate of 2.68 per cent.

"In addition, staff turnover was just 4.65 per cent over the last 12 months."