A bid by NHS staff in Scotland to be rewarded for outstanding professional work beyond the remit of their contracts is being considered by the Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon (pictured).
The news follows a sustained campaign by RCN Scotland to see all NHS staff rewarded and recognised in the same fashion as consultants.
Thought to be worth between £31,468 and £74,768 a year on top of salaries, distinction awards are paid to those consultants deemed to have performed to a consistently high level.
RCN Scotland says a percentage of the budget allocated for these awards – just £2.7m out of £28m – would pay to fill the 163 community nursing posts currently vacant across the country.
Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland director, said: "I would be pleased to work with the cabinet secretary to ensure that a review group to consider how all NHS staff should be rewarded for excellence can be set up as soon as possible."