Safe and effective NHS staffing

Views of staff and stakeholders sought.

A consultation is underway on proposals to enshrine safe staffing in law, as outlined in this year’s Programme for Government.

The Safe and Effective Staffing legislation is intended to build on arrangements already in place to support nurse and midwifery workforce planning, staffing levels and employment practice across the country.

Launching the consultation at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, 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 number of staff in place, with the right skills, long into the future.

“Scotland has led the UK in the development and use of a ground-breaking evidence based approach to nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning. Now we intend to build on our record to date and go further still.

“That’s why we have committed to enshrining the use of our nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning tools in legislation. This consultation sets out our proposals on how this could happen and we are keen to hear views, from practitioners and the public, to help shape the final bill.”

Director of Nursing at NHS Forth Valley, Professor Angela Wallace said:

“We have been using the national workforce planning tools in Forth Valley for many years and have also supported their ongoing development through local testing. These important tools form a core part of our wider care assurance system to ensure we have the right number and skill mix of nursing and midwifery staff in all of our inpatient wards.

“They have also helped drive forward improvements in the safety and quality of care we provide for patients and their families by helping us to identify and respond to areas where additional resources are required to meet the needs of patients.”

RCN Scotland Director Theresa Fyffe said:

“All the evidence points to a clear link between high-quality care and having the right number of nurses with the right skills wherever patient care is delivered. With the integration of health and social care now a reality in Scotland, nursing care is delivered in many different settings, including in local health centres, out in the community, in care homes and in hospitals.

“We’re therefore pleased that this consultation gives the public and all those who deliver patient care the opportunity to have their say on the shape and scope of the proposed safe staffing legislation.”          


The proposed new legislation being consulted on 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 able to raise any concerns they have.


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