NHS Chairs minutes: February 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the NHS Chairs on 22 February 2021.

Attendees and apologies


Scottish Ministers

  • Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport
  • Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Public Health and Sport
  • Clare Haughey, Minister for Mental Healt

Health Board Chairs

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

Scottish Government Officials

  • Caroline Lamb, Director General HSC and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland
  • John Connaghan, Chief Operating Officer NHS Scotland
  • Gillian Russell, Director of Health Workforce
  • Sean Neill, Director of Health Workforce
  • Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director
  • John Harden, Deputy National Clinical Director
  • Richard Foggo, Covid-19 Director
  • Donna Bell, Director for Mental and Social Care
  • Aidan Grisewood, Director of Primary Care
  • Christine McLaughlin, Director of Testing
  • Paul Hawkins, Director of Covid Vaccination Programme
  • Stephen Gallagher, Director of Vaccinations
  • Amanda Croft, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Dave Caesar, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
  • Michael Kellet, Interim Director of Population Health
  • Jack Downie, APS/Minister for Mental Health
  • Robert Kirkwood, Head of Corporate Business Management Team
  • Laurie Whyte, Corporate Business Management Team (Secretariat)
  • Hannah Mackay, Corporate Business Management Team (Secretariat)

In Attendance

  • Andrew Fleming, Head of NHS Board Sponsorship
  • Julie Dick, DG’s Office
  • Nicola Gordon, Executive Support
  • Nicole Smith, Executive Support
  • Roz Barclay, Executive Support
  • Gordon Beattie, Director of Procurement, NHS NSS
  • Tracy Slater, Covid Vaccination Programme, Head of Performance and Delivery
  • Alison Taylor, Deputy Director, Independent Review of Adult Social Care
  • Kate Hall, Deputy Director, Social Care


  • Karen Hamilton, NHS Borders (Fiona Sandford attending)
  • Lynda Lynch, NHS Grampian (Rhona Atkinson attending)
  • Suzanne Dawson, Scottish Health Council
  • David Miller, Chief People Officer
  • Richard McCallum, Interim Director Health Finance, Governance and Value

Items and actions


  1. Welcome, Apologies for Absence and Attendees
  2. Minutes and Actions from the Previous Meeting (18 January 2021)
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Cabinet Secretary Remarks
  5. The Vaccination programme (Paul Hawkins)
  6. Independent Review of Adult Social Care (Donna Bell)
  7. Primary Care: Implementing the Contract and Beyond (Aidan Grisewood)
  8. Feedback from Chairs Private Meeting
  9. Any Other Business
  10. Date and Time of Next Meeting

Welcome, Apologies for Absence and Attendees

1. The Cabinet Secretary welcomed Stephen Gallagher, who has recently taken on the role as Scottish Government’s Director of Vaccinations and Amanda Croft, Chief Nursing Officer who officially took over from Fiona McQueen today.

2. The Cabinet Secretary expressed best wishes to Lynda Lynch, Chair, NHS Grampian and welcomed Rhona Atkinson, Vice-Chair who was attending on her behalf.

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

Minutes and Actions from the Previous Meeting

4. The minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2021 were approved.

Matters Arising

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

Cabinet Secretary Remarks

6. Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, gave an overview of the current state of the pandemic, which included:

  • number of confirmed Covid cases per day
  • incidence rate over 7 days per age group
  • medium term projections
  • vaccinations data

7. The Cabinet Secretary briefed NHS Chairs on the Strategic Framework, which would be announced by the First Minister on Tuesday 23 March 2021.  She highlighted that the ability to move through the Framework and ease restrictions would be driven by data.  She emphasised the importance of communicating to the public with regards to remobilisation of NHS services and welcomed support from NHS Chairs to do so.

 8. John Connaghan, Chief Operating Officer NHS Scotland, offered to provide an overview at a future meeting, of a tool being developed by the National Centre for Sustainability, to assist NHS Boards to assess capacity. 

9. Sean Neill informed the group that a Sub-Group of the Mental Health Oversight Group came together last week to look at further steps to support staff welfare.  This included representation from Human Resources Directors, Employee Directors, staff side and social care.  The importance of ‘wellbeing’ support and increasing psychological support was highlighted.

10. The Cabinet Secretary thanked colleagues for their contributions and suggested scheduling a discussion at the next NHS Chairs meeting on Remobilisation Plans, Waiting Times and Staff Wellbeing.

Action:  Secretariat to liaise with David Garbutt around the agenda for the next NHS Chairs meeting.

The Vaccination Programme

11. Paul Hawkins, Director of Covid Vaccination Programme, introduced the item and Gordon Beattie, Director of Procurement, provided an update on the Supply & Distribution Operating Model, which included:

  • vaccine supply allocation
  • weekly capacity
  • supply for March and April
  • 2nd doses and communications on when these should be administered

12. Gordon Beattie explained that work was still ongoing to encourage uptake amongst harder to reach groups with consideration being given to using mobile units as a place to administer vaccinations.  He highlighted that cohort 6 was the largest and most complex group of people to be vaccinated, including unpaid carers, who will need to self-identify through a new portal.  Communications are being developed to ensure consistent messaging to the public.

13. The Cabinet Secretary emphasised the importance of ensuring that workforce capacity matches the vaccine supply.  Gillian Russell, Director of Health Workforce, provided an update on work within Boards to support rostering available staff and scoping out training requirements for multi-disciplinary teams as we enter phase 2 of the Vaccinations Programme.

Independent Review of Adult Social Care

14. Donna Bell, Director for Mental Health and Social Care, noted that slides on the Independent Review of Adult Social Care had been circulated in advance.

15. David Garbutt, Chair, NHS Chairs Group, reflected that NHS Chairs as a group welcomed the recommendations in the Review.  They were supportive of the creation of a sub-group of NHS Chairs and Chief Executives and looked forward to the opportunity to begin detailed discussions on implementation, after the Election on 6 May 2021. 

Primary Care: Implementing the Contract and Beyond

16. Aidan Grisewood,  Director of Primary Care, displayed slides and provided an update on Primary Care: Implementing the Contract and Beyond.  He gave an outline of the Revised MoU Commitments for GP Contract which included:

  • Vaccination Services - Vaccinations removed from GMS Contract regulations by 1 October 2021. Practices may still be involved in the delivery of some vaccinations in 2022-23 and covered on a new transitionary basis to be negotiated by SGPC/SG.
  • Pharmacotherapy - Level One Pharmacotherapy service for every general practice for 2022-23.  Transitional arrangements where necessary.
  • Community Treatment and Care Services – Boards responsible for providing a community treatment and care service for 2022-23. Transitional arrangements where necessary.
  • Urgent Care Service – Legislation will be amended so that Boards are responsible for providing an Urgent Care service to practices for 2023-24.
  • additional Professional Roles – We will establish more clearly the ‘endpoint’ for the additional professional roles commitment by the end of 2021.

17. Learning from the pandemic and reinforcing the person-centred approach was highlighted as an opportunity going forward. 

Feedback from NHS Chairs Private Meeting

18. David Garbutt, Chair of NHS Chairs Group, summarised discussions from the Private Meeting, which included:

  • scheduling development days
  • the new Whistleblowing Standards
  • Board Priorities Framework – developed by NHS Chairs
  • ESC Report on Time Commitment, Remuneration and Other Aspects of the Role of Public Appointees, 2020
  • Independent Review of Adult Social Care
  • Corporate Governance
  • innovation
  • Primary Care.

Any Other Business

19. It was noted that this was the last standalone NHS Chairs meeting ahead of the Election on 6 May 2021.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

20. The next meeting would be the Joint Ministerial Session with NHS Chairs and Chief Executives on Monday 22 March 2021.  The next NHS Chairs meeting will take place on Monday 17 May 2021.


Corporate Business Management Email: cbmt@gov.scot

NHS Chairs

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