Improving health and social care service resilience over public holidays: report

Report from a review of the resilience of health and social care services over public holidays and in particular, the Christmas and Easter festive periods.

6 Workforce Planning and Development

6.1 Context and progress

A valued sustainable workforce will be key to implementing the recommendations in this Review. Recognising the pivotal importance of workforce development in out of hours periods, the Primary Care OOH Report [33] made a number of specific recommendations, including the need for comprehensive workforce planning. In that report, specific emphasis was placed on the considerable recruitment / retention and sustainability challenges facing the General Practitioner (Recommendation 11), Advanced Nurse Practitioner and District Nursing workforce (Recommendation 12).

The workforce recommendations made in this report amplify those made previously in the Primary Care OOH Report.

These pressing workforce challenges remain and must be addressed through robust national and local planning. This is underway via the Scottish Government’s recent National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, [34] which seeks to:

  • Strengthen and harmonise workforce planning practice
  • Facilitate communication between providers
  • Take full account of the future demand for safe and high quality services for Scotland’s people
  • Accurately identify gaps in supply
  • Help deliver the vision set out in the National Clinical Strategy
  • Make care coordination a high priority
  • Identify patients in greatest need of proactive, coordinated care
  • Engage patients and citizens in decisions about their care
  • Integrate health and social services, and physical and mental health care
  • Engage clinicians and professionals in change and train and support clinical leaders
  • Learn from experience and scale up successful projects

Work is continuing to implement the recommendations of Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Plan, which cover 6 main areas: governance, roles, workforce data, recruitment and retention, guidance and student intakes. A National Workforce Planning Group and Planners’ Forum is now operating and NHS Education for Scotland ( NES) is working on data on recruitment and retention; and work streams on guidance and projections are now progressing, all in the wider context of the Scottish Government’s commitment to a sustainable workforce.

In addition, the two remaining Parts of the National Plan are pending publication (Part 2 on social care) and in early 2018 (Part 3 on primary care – including integrated community nursing teams), leading to a further iteration of the national plan in mid-2018.

The timing of the publication of this Review - alongside related policies and proposed saved staffing legislation - provides a positive opportunity to develop and resource appropriate staffing in a robust and coordinated manner.

Against the background of this wider work to improve workforce planning in NHS Boards and across social care and primary care, it is important that NHS Boards and other employers across health and social care consider workforce sustainability issues in the context of this Review and the recommendations it makes to bring together different parts of the service to work collaboratively to deliver a high level of care throughout the system.


  • Effective planning and resource allocation to secure delivery of these recommendations will require a whole system approach and leadership of a high order.
  • Developing national, social and primary care workforce plans should take account of the findings from this Review including sustainable resourcing for all professional groups.
  • Partnership and professional organisations should be fully engaged in the design and delivery of all planned changes to the workforce.


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