NHS Chairs minutes: August 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the NHS Chairs on 24 August 2020.

Attendees and apologies


Scottish Ministers

  • Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport
  • Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing
  • Clare Haughey, Minister for Mental Health

Health Board Chairs

  • Lesley Bowie, NHS Ayrshire and Arran
  • Karen Hamilton, NHS Borders
  • Nicholas Morris, NHS Dumfries and Galloway
  • Tricia Marwick,  NHS Fife
  • Janie McCusker, NHS Forth Valley
  • Lynda Lynch,  NHS Grampian
  • John Brown,  NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Boyd Robertson, NHS Highland
  • Neena Mahal, NHS Lanarkshire
  • Esther Roberton, NHS Lothian (Interim Chair)
  • Meghan McEwen, NHS Orkney
  • Gary Robinson, NHS Shetland
  • Lorna Birse-Stewart, NHS Tayside (Interim Chair)
  • Gillian McCannon, NHS Western Isles (Vice Chair)
  • Susan Douglas-Scott, The Golden Jubilee Foundation
  • Carole Wilkinson, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Madeline Smith, NHS 24 (Vice Chair)
  • David Garbutt, NHS Education for Scotland
  • Jim McGoldrick, Public Health Scotland
  • Keith Redpath, NHS National Services Scotland
  • Terry Currie, The State Hospital Board
  • Tom Steele, Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Suzanne Dawson, Scottish Health Council
  • Paul Edie, Care Inspectorate

Scottish Government Officials

  • John Connaghan, Interim Chief Executive of NHS Scotland
  • Elinor Mitchell, Interim Director General for Health and Social Care for the Scottish Government
  • Gillian Russell, Director of Health Workforce
  • Richard McCallum, Interim Director of Health Finance and Infrastructure
  • Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director
  • Caroline Lamb, Director of Digital Reform and Service Engagement
  • Christine McLaughlin, Director of NHS Planning
  • Aidan Grisewood, Director of Primary Care
  • Lorna Ascroft, Programme Lead, Reform of adult social care
  • Anne Armstrong, Mental Health Nursing Advisor
  • Jack Downie, APS/Minister for Mental Health
  • Laurie Whyte, Corporate Business Management Team (Secretariat)
  • Hannah Mackay, Corporate Business Management Team (Secretariat)

In Attendance

  • Dave Caesar, Head of Leadership and Talen Management
  • Derek Grieve, Interim Head of Vaccinations Division
  • Yvonne Summers, Head of Operational Planning and Performance
  • Jill Young, Covid-19 Lead for Testing


  • Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer
  • David Miller, Chief People Officer
  • Richard Foggo, Covid Public Health Director
  • Nicola Steedman, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
  • David Williams, Director of Delivery, Health and Social Care Integration
  • Martin Cheyne, NHS 24
  • Donna Bell, Director for Mental Health and Primary care
  • Elizabeth Sadler, Interim Director of Population Health

Items and actions

Welcome, Apologies for Absence and Attendees

1. A list of those present and apologies is provided at Annex A.

Minutes and Actions from the Previous Meeting

2. The minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2020 were approved. 

Matters Arising

3. There were no matters arising from the previous meeting. 

Cabinet Secretary Remarks

4. The Cabinet Secretary highlighted that the global pandemic continued to accelerate and last week two milestones were crossed; 20 million infections and 750,000 deaths.  

5. The Cabinet Secretary expressed that, going forward, the main aim would be to identify Covid-19 clusters and outbreaks at an early opportunity to prevent the virus from spreading through community transmission.  Additional present challenges are winter planning and remobilisation.

Leadership, Culture and Value

6. Dave Caesar, Head of Leadership & Talent Management, led the discussion and referred to the slides which were circulated in advance of the meeting.  The discussion included an update on the work supporting: 

  • leadership through and beyond Covid
  • culture and the progress of Post-Sturrock MLSWG
  • workforce Wellbeing, including proposals for a Mental Health Network

8. The Cabinet Secretary asked colleagues not to share the paper in advance of the publication of the Programme for Government on 1 September 2020. 

9. It was raised that ‘in house’ psychological services could be reflected more clearly in the Re-mobilisation plans.  The Cabinet Secretary requested this was revisited and to ensure this was included throughout the plans.

Action:  NHS Chairs to ensure that ‘in-house’ psychological services are reflected in Remobilisation plans.

Mobilisation Plans

10. Christine McLaughlin, Director of NHS Planning, introduced the item and referred to the paper which summarised the key issues highlighted in the initial assessment of the latest iteration of the NHS Board re-mobilisation plans, which have been received over recent weeks.  

11. It was highlighted that these plans cover the period until the end of March 2021 and it was important to keep in mind that they were not final versions: the plans would continue to be refined through detailed discussions with Boards, and as more information and evidence became available.  

12. Follow up meetings have been set up with Boards to discuss the plans in further detail.  Christine McLaughlin outlined the next steps which were as follows:

  • preparedness for Winter
  • second wave of Covid
  • public Health response
  • waiting times – there was now good data on what’s manageable now
  • services re-starting at a slow pace – would be interested to know if some services need to be picked up faster than others and,
  • request for clear public messaging

13. Following the meetings with Boards, a letter would be sent which includes the agreed actions following the meeting and it would clarify arrangements for publishing plans, which is expected to happen towards the end of September.

Seasonal Flu Programme

14. Derek Grieve, Interim Head of Vaccinations Division, introduced the item and highlighted that the Scottish Government announced on 7 August that they would expand free eligibility for the seasonal flu vaccine to: social care workers who provide direct personal care; household members of individuals who are shielding, and all those aged 55 and over (who are not already eligible), and, if vaccine supplies allow, it would be explored for those aged 50-54 to be vaccinated.

15. The Cabinet Secretary emphasised that this had to be a whole system approach.  NHS Chairs were encouraged to capture lessons learned from the Flu vaccine, to help with planning for a Covid vaccine.  To support delivery, emergency Legislation is being processed to allow for health care workers, other than nurses and doctors, to be able to give vaccines.

16. There was a discussion about what could be done to encourage uptake of the vaccine amongst health and social care workers.  Clear public messaging will also be created to help with the public’s understanding on how to access the vaccine.

Action:  NHS Chairs to encourage members of staff to participate in the Flu vaccine programme. 

Test and Protect

17. Jill Young, Director of Testing Programme, provided an update on testing.  She updated that there had been a significant increase of people booking tests who were asymptomatic.  There was also concerns of employers sending their members of staff to be tested and this was thought to be due to a lack of understanding around the assurances that tests can provide. Some issues were raised over the satellite hub in NHS Orkney and Jill Young would follow this up.

Action:  Jill Young to explore the issues raised around testing for the satellite hub in NHS Orkney.

18. The Cabinet Secretary updated that there had been a large number of staff who were now declining tests.  NHS Chairs were asked to understand why this was and what can be done to improve this.

Action: NHS Chairs to explore the reason why staff were declining tests.

Feedback from Chairs Private Meeting

19. David Garbutt, Chair, NHS Chairs Group gave an overview of the themes discussed at their private meeting, including:

  • innovation
  • corporate governance
  • improving Diversity on Boards and Public Appointments
  • lessons learned from Outbreak Management
  • public involvement and
  • lessons learned paper

20. The Cabinet Secretary thanked David Garbutt for the update.  It was raised that time-commitment of non-executive members has increased due to the requirement for them to sit on committees of Integrated Joint Boards (IJBs).  The Cabinet Secretary requested that decision making processes through committees of IJB’s was discussed at a future meeting.

Action: Secretariat to schedule decision making processes of IJBs at a future meeting.

Any Other Business

21. There were no additional items raised.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

22. The next meeting will be on Monday 26 October 2020 at 13:00. Full details will be issued nearer the time.

NHS Chairs minutes: August 2020


Corporate Business Management Email: cbmt@gov.scot

NHS Chairs

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