Scottish Conservatives have warned the staffing “crisis” at Scottish hospitals could get worse as figures show nearly one in five nurses are 55 or older.

A total of 18.8 per cent of nurses and midwives in Scotland are in that age group, up marginally from 17.9 per cent in 2016 and 17.1 per cent in 2015.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “The NHS is already struggling to ensure wards are sufficiently staffed. With thousands of nurses contemplating retirement over the next few years, this crisis could get even worse.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This government has delivered an all-time record high number of staff in Scotland’s NHS.

“But Brexit – and the UK Government’s determination to end free movement of workers – threatens that.”