Joint Scottish Government and Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) Foreword
We share a common aim: to ensure everyone in Scotland receives the high-quality health and care services they need, at the right time and in the right place.
Central to that aim is the need to anticipate, gauge and respond effectively to the changing needs of our population; understanding the health and social care workforce we need to deliver services is crucial to this.
Every day the many thousands of people who work in our health and social care services display extraordinary leadership, professionalism, skill and knowledge. In everything they do they demonstrate outstanding personal commitment. It follows that the planning carried out to recruit, deploy, nurture, and retain this vital workforce must also be exemplary.
As people's health and social care needs change we are seeing a renewed focus on prevention and wellbeing, on early intervention and in supported self-management. This work will require us collectively to:
- embed and sustain health and social care integration;
- transform mental health services;
- improve access to services;
- respond to innovations and advances in treatment and care, as well as how people experience services.
This Plan reflects these requirements, in setting out:
- the key workforce factors we must consider in assessing growing and changing demand;
- the skills and size of the workforce we will need to meet demand;
- the actions we are taking to ensure a sustainable workforce - how we grow and retain our community-based workforce, our mental health workforce, and the workforce needed to support improved access in other key areas of health and social care.
We have known for many years that workforce planning is not an exact science. It is often described as a multi-dimensional and iterative process, capable of handling changing circumstances as they emerge. We must ensure Scotland's people continue to benefit from a fully sustainable health and social care workforce into the future, which remains a huge challenge. There is much still to do to further develop our collective knowledge, for example on the growing demands for social care. This in turn will support informed decision-making and the workforce skills we require.
This Plan represents an important milestone because it is tackling these issues at a national level and in an integrated context for the first time. It will support employers and workforce planners to address the complex interactions between demand and supply across all parts of the health and social care system. It reinforces that having a skilled, supported and sustainable workforce remains absolutely critical to delivering safe, effective and person centred care - at the right time and in the right place - wherever in Scotland it is being provided.
In developing this first Integrated Plan, individuals and organisations have shared their experiences of workforce planning across the statutory, third and independent sectors. It has provided a solid base for future work in further iterations of this Plan. It has also promoted a shared recognition of how specific workforce challenges confront different employers and organisations, and what they can do to meet them - locally, regionally and nationally.
One specific aim for this Plan, and its supporting guidance, is to equip planners and employers in local authorities, the NHS, the third sector, and the independent sector, with the planning resources they need to help build sustainable services. To do this to the best of their abilities, all sectors need better coordinated and more comprehensive workforce intelligence and insight, as well as the capacity to undertake appropriate workforce planning.
Working alongside COSLA and other stakeholders, the Scottish Government has an important part to play in leading this work and ensuring the continued development of a whole-system approach to workforce planning.
We are pleased to jointly commend this Plan to the many colleagues working across all of our health and social care organisations across Scotland. We encourage them to make good use of the revised guidance and scenarios published alongside it.
As we enter the third decade of the 21st century we believe this Plan now elevates workforce planning to its rightful position - fundamental to securing the best possible health and care outcomes for Scotland's people.