Safe NHS staffing law passed

Health And Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill passes Stage 3.

Legislation to support staffing across health and social care services has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Health and Care (Staffing) Bill is the first comprehensive multi-disciplinary workload and workforce planning legislation in the UK.

The new law will result in high-quality care and improved outcomes for those using health and social care services. It will also embed openness in decisions about staffing across all clinical staff groups. Staff members involved in assessing immediate staffing requirements will receive appropriate training to help them effectively consider this.

Speaking after the vote, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“This is an important Bill that will promote safe staffing across our NHS and social care services and, in doing so, improve patient experience.

“It will ensure that the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time.

“When I visited NHS Forth Valley this morning I witnessed first-hand the positive impact of having a culture of transparency in decision-making.

“Being open about decisions on staffing allows health boards to allocate staff efficiently and effectively. I want staff to feel engaged and informed about decisions relating to staffing requirements and feel safe to raise any concerns about staffing levels. 

“I would also like to thank our key partners across the health and care sector for their constructive engagement with us and for their considerable input in this new law. We will continue to work with them to ensure this legislation is implemented effectively and drives positive change.”


The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 23 May 2018. Its aim is to provide a statutory basis for the provision of appropriate staffing in health and care service settings, thereby enabling safe and high quality care and improved outcomes for service users.

The Nursing and Midwifery Workload Workforce Planning Programme has been working with NHS Scotland for a number of years on the development of a suite of ground-breaking workload planning tools.  These tools use rigorous statistical analysis to calculate the number of nurses or midwives recommended for the workload and have been tested extensively across NHS Scotland before being confirmed as fit for purpose.


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