New figures unfilled positions stood at a rate of 4.5 per cent at the end of March the highest ever reported.
Some 2,818.9 full-time posts lay empty – up by 27.5 per cent from March last year.
There has also been a rise of more than 51.3 per cent in long-term vacancies of three months or more.
New figures said unfilled positions stood at a rate of 4.5 per cent at the end of March
The nationalists cannot point the finger at anyone else – they've been warned repeatedly about not training enough nurses, and now those fears are playing out
Donald Cameron – Scottish Tory health spokesman
Experts have issued a string of warnings in recent months over staff shortages hitting patients and care across Scotland while the SNP crusades for independence.
Health Secretary Shona Robison defended the Scottish Government's record insisting the number of NHS workers had risen to "historically high levels".
But opposition parties branded it a "day of shame" for First Minster Nicola Sturgeon's administration with a blizzard of officials statistics laying bare its "mismanagement" of the NHS.
Last week Ms Sturgeon put a second referendum at the heart of her general election manifesto, declaring that winning more MPs than any other party north of the Border would give her a "triple lock" mandate for another poll.
Ms Sturgeon put a second referendum at the heart of her general election manifesto
Rivals said she must "get back to the day job" after it was also revealed:
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• 16 scheduled operations were cancelled every day last month because hospitals "did not have the capacity to cope".
• 1,377 patients still having to stay in hospital when well enough to leave despite an SNP pledge to end "bed-blocking" two years ago.
• A mental health waiting-time target missed for more than a quarter of adults and one in six youngsters.
Today, Scottish Tory health spokesman Donald Cameron said: "The nationalists cannot point the finger at anyone else – they've been warned repeatedly about not training enough nurses, and now those fears are playing out.
"Yet again, we see the impact of an SNP government which places independence at the centre of everything, to the cost of our critical public services like the NHS."
Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said the "SNP workforce crisis is getting worse" adding: "No wonder nurses are heckling Nicola Sturgeon at TV appearances.
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There are 415.7 vacancies
"She stopped running the health service to run a referendum campaign and the problems are coming home to roost."
Data released by the Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland also showed the spent £8.4 million more on nursing and midwifery bank and agency staff, paying out £166.5 million.
Consultant vacancies have also risen year on year from 6.5 per cent to 7.4 per cent.
There are 415.7 vacancies, of which 203.4 have gone unfilled for more than three months, up 38.2 per cent from 2016.
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Royal College of Nursing associate director Norman Provan warned "if there aren't the nurses, patients won't receive the care they need".
He said:" Across both acute and community settings, there are simply too few nurses.
"The Scottish Government can point to the increase in the number of nursing and midwifery staff, but the reality on the ground is that nurses wanting to do their very best for patients are too often coming up against the reality of vacancies in the workforce.
"Nursing morale is low and teams are struggling to recruit and retain the staff they need."
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The total number of NHS Scotland staff has risen 0.7 per cent year on year
The total number of NHS Scotland staff has risen 0.7 per cent year on year to 139,430 whole-time equivalent posts.
Ms Robison said: "Under this government, NHS staff numbers have risen to historically high levels, with more doctors and nursing staff now delivering care for the people of Scotland – including over 2,000 additional qualified nurses and midwives.
"We're committed to training and retaining our nursing staff, and earlier this year we confirmed a 4.7 per cent increase in trainee nurses and midwives for 2017/18 – a fifth successive rise.
"We have also committed £450,000 over three years to reintroduce a national return to practice scheme."