NHSScotland aims to deliver the highest quality healthcare services and, through this, to ensure that NHSScotland is recognised by the people of Scotland as amongst the best in the world. The Quality Strategy1 sets the overall direction for achieving this, both now and in the future, focussing on three Quality Ambitions: 'person-centred', 'safe' and 'effective'. Delivering against all three is dependent on having a committed, dedicated, professional and healthy workforce.
I am proud of the progress made by NHSScotland Boards in striving towards exemplar employer status. Staff Governance (ensuring the fair and effective management of staff) has been enshrined in legislation, and enjoys equal status with the other pillars of clinical and financial governance. Similarly, the evolution of partnership working between employers and trade unions/professional organisations at both local and national level has helped to ensure that we have a health service in which employees are actively involved in the decisions which affect them and engaged in delivering high quality services. Indeed, the approach to employee relations within NHSScotland has been described in a recent report as "groundbreaking" and "arguably the most ambitious labour-management partnership so far attempted in the UK public sector" 2.
The development of NHSScotland Partnership Information Network (PIN) policies provides a means of further ensuring sound staff governance practice. They set a minimum standard of practice in the area of employment policy, helping to ensure a fair and consistent means of managing staff which meets both current legislative requirements and best employment practice. These PIN policies have been published following significant work in partnership between the Scottish Government, NHSScotland employers and recognised trade union/professional organisation partners, and following widespread consultation across the service.
These PIN policies form part of the terms and conditions of employment of all NHSScotland employees. While Boards may develop policies to meet particular local needs, I expect all Boards to adhere to the PIN policies and ensure that practice never falls short of any of the provisions set out within these policies. By doing so, we can ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently irrespective of the part of the service in which they work.
I am asking all NHSScotland managers and leaders to ensure that they adopt and embrace the PIN policies within their Boards and within their individual roles. I am also tasking Employee Directors and Board Partnership Forums to champion these policies and to raise non-compliance in a positive and constructive manner.
These PIN policies represent an exemplar approach to employment policy and practice, and I look forward to seeing evidence of their implementation across NHSScotland in the months and years ahead.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy
Email: Darren Paterson