Effective and safe NHS staffing

Legislation to support workload planning for health and care services.

Scotland’s health boards and care providers will be required to have suitable staffing in place to enable all patients to receive safe, high quality care under new legislation published today.

The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill will place a legal requirement on NHS boards and care services to ensure appropriate numbers of suitably trained staff are in place, irrespective of where care is received. It will also build on Scotland’s innovative, evidence-based and profession-led approach to nursing and midwifery workload planning by facilitating the future development of this approach across health and care settings.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“We know there is a clear link between effective and sustainable staffing levels and high quality care. NHS staffing has increased to a record high under this government, but it’s vital we have the right staff in the right place, with the right skills, long into the future. This legislation will work in practice by ensuring staffing decisions take account of the needs of service users and staff and are supported by available evidence. It will also promote openness and transparency about the basis of staffing decisions.

“Scotland has led the UK in the development and use of ground-breaking evidence based approach to nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning. Now, with the publication of this legislation, we take a further important step by creating a framework across health and care services to allow us to build on this approach wherever care is delivered - and I am positive about its future.”


The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill will also enable consideration of service delivery models to ensure Scotland’s health and social care services meet the needs of the people they serve; and creates a culture where patients feel confident in the care they receive and staff feel supported and able to raise any concerns they have.


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