Health and social care: improving wellbeing and working cultures

Improving wellbeing and working cultures (IWWC), sets out our vision to enhance working cultures across our health, social care and social work workforce, through programmes of work at a national level that focus on the pillars of: wellbeing, leadership and equality.


This document sets out the Scottish Government’s vision to improve wellbeing and working cultures across our health, social care and social work workforce. If staff are well and feel valued by their colleagues, teams and employers, then they will ultimately be able to offer a better level of care to those who need and access our services. Improving working cultures is therefore an important preventative public health intervention as well as part of our legal obligation under the Public Sector Equality Duty[2] (PSED).

Since the Covid-19 pandemic it is clear that our workforce is capable of delivering excellent care despite unparalleled challenges. As individuals responsible for providing and enabling care to others – often under physically and emotionally challenging circumstances – their resilience is evident. However, the pandemic and the impact of it subsequently also highlight the need for improvements to some of the cultures within many workplaces. As we continue to recover from the pandemic it is vital that we take the lessons learned and come back stronger by delivering improvements that will make staff healthier and, therefore, better able to continue to deliver high quality care.

Improving Wellbeing and Working Cultures is built upon the three pillars of Wellbeing, Leadership and Equality. When these areas are prioritised, working cultures can improve.

This document provides a baseline of ambitions for our stakeholders and employers who are already working to improve the wellbeing, leadership and equality, diversity and inclusion in their workplace. It also provides a standard of best practice so that employers and their staff are clear on the types of opportunities and support that is expected to be available to everyone. This includes creating psychological safety in the workplace – where everyone feels heard, respected and valued – and where there is invitation to provide ongoing challenge to improve the status quo.

Improving Wellbeing and Working Cultures is aimed at everyone working in teams - managers and leaders, across the three sectors of health, social care and social work.

We acknowledge that not one size fits all and organisations are encouraged to engage with colleagues and develop an approach that is right in the context of their healthcare system/organisation/services, and the diversity of their workforce. This document provides a template for the type of activities and development work that will help all organisations move towards a healthier and more inclusive workplace culture. And, in keeping with the Once for Scotland[3] approach, it aims to ensure a shared national approach to making these changes across health, social care and social work.



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