Health and social care: winter preparedness plan 2023-2024

This winter plan represents a whole system approach to responding to a surge in demand for health and social care services and sets out the actions to help relieve pressure points across the system. The measures outlined are applicable throughout the year when we may face increased pressures.

Priority Six. Work in partnership across health and social care, and with other partners, to deliver this Plan.

To deliver on our commitments, we have put in place a national governance system with strategic oversight across health and care to recognise and mitigate evolving risks (including system pressures), maintain a flexible approach, and enable an effective response and support to whole-system winter pressures.

How we will jointly deliver this priority:

  • The Chief Operating Officer for NHS Scotland and Director for Social Care Resilience and Improvement, supported by Health and Social Care Directors and COSLA Officials, will report to Ministers and COSLA Leaders on progress of addressing whole-system pressures throughout the winter period.
  • A Whole System Oversight and Planning Group (WSOPG) is in place and has strategic oversight of health and social care pressures through the winter period. Working on a subsidiarity basis, local monitoring will continue, and health and care organisations will utilise their established governance and response structures to manage pressures. In addition, established National Incident Management Plans will enable a multi-agency team including the Scottish Government and COSLA to assist Boards and HSCPs in responding to any emergencies or major incidents through established procedures. This will include a shared escalation plan between the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24 for early identification and management of surge and risks.
  • The third and voluntary sectors and organisations representing unpaid carers will be integral to these governance structures to assist with identification of issues and co-production of solutions.



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