A possible shortage of nurses and midwives caused by another swine flu outbreak has prompted the Scottish government to offer to pay former nurses £100 to re-register.

The money would cover the £76 registration fee and £23 cost of a disclosure check.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has already written to 9,500 former nurses whose registrations have lapsed in the last four years, urging them to renew them.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are continuing to work closely with boards and other organisations to ensure Scotland is prepared for any NHS staffing implications as a result of the pandemic.

“The extra resource former nurses and midwives can provide if the pandemic worsens will be vital, and that is why we are offering to meet any costs that re-registering will incur.”

Labour health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson said a second wave of swine flu could see GPs dealing with more than 5,000 extra cases a week. He said ministers must “step up their preparations”.