NHS Chairs minutes: October 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the NHS Chairs on 26 October 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
  • Julia Swan, 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 
  • Gillian McCannon, NHS Western Isles (Interim Chair) 
  • Susan Douglas-Scott, The Golden Jubilee Foundation
  • Carole Wilkinson, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Martin Cheyne, NHS 24
  • 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
  • John Harden, Deputy National Clinical Director
  • Gillian Russell, Director of Health Workforce 
  • David Miller, Chief People Officer
  • Richard McCallum, Interim Director of Health Finance and Infrastructure 
  • Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer
  • Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer 
  • Richard Foggo, Covid Public Health Director
  • Caroline Lamb, Director of Digital Reform and Service Engagement
  • Michael Kellet, Interim Director of Population Health
  • David Williams, Director of Delivery, Health and Social Care Integration
  • Jack Downie, APS/Minister for Mental Health
  • Laurie Whyte, Corporate Business Management Team (Secretariat)
  • Hannah Mackay, Corporate Business Management Team (Secretariat)

In attendance:

  • Jill Young, Covid-19 Lead for Testing
  • Margaret Kerr, Project Manager for the Active Governance Review 
  • Andrew Fleming, Head of NHS Board Sponsorship
  • Mike Healy, Head of Health Resilience Unit
  • Hitesh Tailor, Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow
  • Alan Mackenzie, Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow
  • Nicola Gordon, Executive Support 
  • Roz Barclay, Executive Support


  • Christine McLaughlin, Director of NHS Planning (Andrew Fleming and Mike Healy             deputising) 
  • Janie McCusker, NHS Forth Valley (Julia Swan deputising)
  • Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director (John Harden deputising)
  • Aidan Grisewood, Director of Primary Care    

Items and actions


Welcome, apologies for absence and attendees

Minutes and actions from the previous meeting (24 August 2020)

Matters arising

Cabinet Secretary remarks


  • Active Governance (David Garbutt and Margaret Kerr) - NHSCH/20/21/08
  • lessons learnt (Nick Morris) – NHSCH/20/21/09

Test and Protect (Caroline Lamb/Jill Young) - NHSCH/20/21/10

Winter preparedness (Christine McLaughlin) - NHSCH/20/21/11

Seasonal flu programme (Caroline Lamb)

Feedback from Chairs private meeting

Any other business

Date and time of next meeting

Office of the Chief Executive NHS Scotland
22 October 2020


Welcome, apologies for absence and attendees

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

Minutes and actions from the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 24 August 2020 were approved. 

Matters arising

There were no matters arising from the previous meeting. 

Cabinet Secretary remarks

The Cabinet Secretary congratulated Lorna Birse-Stewart on her substantive appointment as Chair of NHS Tayside and welcomed Gillian McCannon to her first meeting as Interim Chair of NHS Western Isles.

The Cabinet Secretary highlighted the importance of the items scheduled on the agenda for discussion and gave her apologies for having to leave the meeting early. 

Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director provided an overview of the five-tier restrictions framework which will be introduced on 2 November 2020. He highlighted that Directors of Public Health were very much involved in conversations relating to this.

Test and Protect – NHSCH/20/21/10

Jill Young, Director of Testing Programme provided an update on Testing. She updated that the lab capacity for testing was increasing at pace and, that Regional Hubs would be capable of providing more than double the number of current tests by mid-December. She noted some concerns around turnaround time within the UK Government Lighthouse Labs and confirmed that all 11 walk through centres were now open.

Caroline Lamb, Director of Digital Reform and Service Engagement emphasised how important it was for Boards to ensure the target for Contact Tracers was reached. She asked NHS Chairs to be aware of the targets set for their Boards as outlined on 18 September 2020 and to assure themselves that their Boards are standing up available staff to undertake contact tracing.

The Cabinet Secretary recognised the huge amount of work which has been done on turnaround time and thanked colleagues for that.  She re-iterated the importance of ensuring Boards meet their target for Contact Tracers.


  • NHS Chairs to be aware of the targets set for their Boards and assure themselves that they are standing up available staff to undertake contact tracing

Winter preparedness – NHSCH/20/21/11

John Connaghan, Interim Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, on behalf of Christine McLaughlin, introduced the item. He highlighted that the Cabinet Secretary would be publishing the Winter Preparedness plan on Wednesday 28 October 2020.  The plan will set out the key activities which are being put in place across the sector. He advised that a Winter Planning and Response Group has now been established and was currently meeting weekly, to provide strategic oversight of winter planning activity and support the overall resilience of the health and social care sector.  

Mike Healy, Head of Health Resilience Unit updated that workshops were being delivered to support Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships to prepare for winter. These events would also consider the potential impact of concurrencies, such as EU Exit and severe weather.

There was a discussion about NHS Louisa Jordan and how it is currently utilised. Jill Young encouraged NHS Chairs to discuss with NHS Chief Executives the possibility utilising NHS Louisa Jordan for some Outpatient services. NHS Lanarkshire have successfully managed to reduce waiting lists for orthopaedic services back to pre-Covid figures.  


  • NHS Chairs to discuss with NHS Chief Executives utilising NHS Louisa Jordan for some outpatient services

Seasonal flu programme 

Caroline Lamb provided an update on the delivery of the Seasonal Flu Programme. She acknowledged that this year has been particularly challenging. Delivery of the vaccination programme has been more complex due to the transfer of responsibility from GPs to Health and Social Care Partnerships, as well as the expansion of those eligible to receive the vaccine. Lessons learned will be taken into account when considering the delivery of a future vaccine for Covid-19. 


Active Governance (NHSCH/20/21/08)

Margaret Kerr, Project Manager for the Active Governance Review led a presentation and discussion on the Active Governance project. The project aims to develop a consistent approach to presenting information for assurance purposes, provide organisational development through tools and practice aids for preparers of Board information, and deliver tailored Board development sessions. Material will be ready for national roll out from March 2021. 

There was a discussion about the relevance of the material for members of Integrated Joint Boards (IJBs). It was recognised that discussions would need to be take place with additional stakeholder groups, but that the material could potentially be rolled out in parallel given that Health Board Members are also members of the IJBs.  

Lessons learnt (NHSCH/20/21/09)

Nick Morris, Vice Chair of Chairs Group provided an overview of the lessons learnt from examining the response to the management of the Coronavirus Pandemic from the perspective of the NHS Chairs. Full details were provided in a paper circulated in advance of the meeting. 

John Connaghan thanked Nick Morris for his presentation and confirmed that he would explore the learning further during his regular meetings with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the NHS Chairs Group. 


  • John Connaghan to explore lessons learnt on governance at his next meeting with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the NHS Board Chairs Group

Feedback from Chairs private meeting

David Garbutt, Chair, NHS Chairs Group outlined that they had an useful discussion with Derek Feely, former DGHSC/CE NHS Scotland, on the Independent Review of Adult Social Care which he has been leading.

Any other business

There were no additional items raised.

Date and time of next meeting

The next meeting was arranged for Monday 07 December 2020 at 13:00. However, following earlier discussions, the Cabinet Secretary asked that secretariat explore potential dates for an earlier meeting. These will be advised in due course.


  • Secretariat to arrange an additional meeting ahead of the meeting on 7 December 2020

Office of the Chief Executive for NHS Scotland
October 2020

NHS Chairs minutes: October 2020


Corporate Business Management Email: cbmt@gov.scot

NHS Chairs

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