NHS Forth Valley Assurance Board minutes: 20 December 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 20 December 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Christine McLaughlin, Co-Director of Population Health (Chair) 
  • Fiona Hogg, Chief People Officer
  • Robert Kirkwood, Head of the Office of Chief Executive NHS Scotland

Attendees – Forth Valley 

  • Janie McCusker, Chair
  • Amanda Croft, Interim Chief Executive

Attendees – SG/Other 

  • [redacted] (Secretariat), Executive Support Officer (in-person)


  • Angie Wood - Co-Director, Social Care and NCS Development Directorate

Items and actions

Welcome, apologies and introductions

The Chair of the Assurance Board (AB) welcomed members to the sixteenth meeting and outlined the agenda. It was highlighted that this meeting was shorter compared to usual due to a diary clash and colleagues were thanked for being accommodating. 

NHS Forth Valley improvement plan 

Amanda Croft provided an overview of the latest NHS Forth Valley assurance and improvement plan. She updated that the plan was shared with the board’s performance and resources committee recently who were pleased with progress and discussed key actions that would assist with de-escalation. The plan would be shared with escalation committee on 19 January 2024 and feedback would be provided at the next AB meeting. The next meeting of the escalation committee would focus on Integration, which would enable a further update to be provided to the AB.

It was highlighted that the improvement plan would continue to be updated to display the incremental progress and that evidence has been included to further strengthen the narrative. It was positive that colleagues were fully engaged in the co-design of the plan and were committed to seeing an improvement. 

During discussion, comments from AB members included that it was good to see the progress which had been made due to providing evidence within the plan, which built on the previous version. It was emphasised that this now needs to lead to outcomes. In terms of rating progress using RAG, the board may wish to reconsider current ratings, given timescales. It was important to ensure that outcomes, in the new year, from the governance review and self assessment are included in the plan. Board officials were currently drawing the recommendations and findings of that work together into a coherent set of improvement actions.

The AB Chair highlighted the “firebreak”, which was currently taking place in NHS Forth Valley and the board would wish to assess how this impacts on the range of recovery work that is underway. Although there were challenges within the board in terms of winter and financial pressures, it was emphasised that there are still areas that the board can focus on and continue to provide evidence of improvement. The board should focus on evidencing those improvements during the first three months of the new year, before reviewing any next steps. The AB Chair encouraged the board to keep the momentum on this as they were on the right track. In terms of monitoring progress, the importance of finding the right system for the board was highlighted, as this needs to be owned by the board in order to ensure it facilitates continued improvement.

Given the range of improvement actions that were underway, the AB also encouraged the board to ensure that there was a comprehensive narrative underpinning the various actions underway. This would help underpin the “why” of the work that was underway.

NHS Forth Valley senior staffing

Amanda Croft updated AB on matters affecting senior staffing in NHS Forth Valley. She assured the board that this is a high priority and that there is a plan to address vacancies and temporary positions to ensure stable leadership going into 2024-25. The AB will receive further updates in Q4.

AOB/prep for next meeting

The next meeting of the AB will be in January 2024 (date to be confirmed). For the next meeting, it was suggested that it included a deeper discussion into Integration and an update on unscheduled care.

The AB Chair acknowledged the amount of work which goes on in the background ahead of these meetings and expressed her thanks to Amanda Croft, Janie McCusker and team. The AB Chair thanked colleagues for their contributions and closed the meeting. 

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