Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 - draft statutory guidance: consultation analysis

The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 will commence on 1 April 2024. We carried out a public consultation during June to September 2023 on the draft statutory guidance that will accompany the Act. This is an analysis of the consultation responses received.

1. Introduction

1.1 The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019

The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 (“the Act”) was approved by the Scottish Parliament in 2019 and all requirements of the Act will take effect from 01 April 2024. The aims of the Act are to enable safe and high quality care and improved outcomes for people experiencing health care or care services through the provision of appropriate staffing.

The Act places duties on:

  • Health Boards;
  • Special Health Boards providing direct patient care (i.e. NHS 24, the Scottish Ambulance Service Board, the State Hospitals Board for Scotland and the National Waiting Times Centre Board);
  • NHS National Services Scotland (NHS NSS, which is referred to in the Act as “the Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service” or as “the Agency”);
  • Local authorities;
  • Integration authorities;
  • Care service providers;
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland;
  • The Care Inspectorate (referred to in the Act as “Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland”); and
  • The Scottish Ministers.

1.2 Consultation on statutory guidance

The Act states that Scottish Ministers can issue statutory guidance to support organisations to meet their duties. Draft statutory guidance was prepared by various working groups comprising representatives from the Scottish Government and external stakeholders, including Health Boards, Special Health Boards, NHS NSS, local authorities, integration authorities, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, the Care Inspectorate, professional bodies, trade unions and professional regulatory bodies. This draft guidance was then published for public consultation, which ran from 22 June to 19 September 2023.

A total of 77 responses were received; of these, 31 were from individuals and 46 were from organisations. A full list of organisations that provided a response can be found in Annex A. Where individuals / organisations gave their permission, their responses have been published on Citizen Space; however all responses have been considered in this analysis, irrespective of whether or not they have been published. We would like to thank participants for their time in providing responses to the consultation.

The consultation asked five questions, some of which were closed questions, i.e. respondents picked from a list of specific answers and others which were open questions, where respondents could add free text. The questions asked were as follows:

  • 1a) Do you think the guidance is clear and easy to understand? (answered yes / no);
  • 1b) Please detail any specific areas of the guidance that you found unclear or hard to understand (option to indicate specific sections and to add free text);
  • 2a) Do you think the guidance is comprehensive, in that it contains sufficient detail to be able to support organisations in meeting obligations placed on them by the Act? (answered yes / no);
  • 2b) Please detail any specific areas where you felt information was missing or incomplete (answered as free text); and
  • 3) Do you have any other comments on the draft guidance? (answered as free text).

This document will summarise the overall themes from the consultation responses, along with specific themes for each chapter. It will also detail the actions that Scottish Government will take when revising and finalising the statutory guidance, ready for publication on 01 April 2024.



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