NHS recovery plan

The NHS recovery plan sets out key ambitions and actions to be developed and delivered now and over the next 5 years in order to address the backlog in care and meet ongoing healthcare needs for people across Scotland.

Staffing and Wellbeing

NHS and care staff across our nation have been on the frontline in our efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. They have been heroes, but we cannot forget that they are only human. If we want our NHS and social care staff to be able to best care for us we need to make sure that we care for them.

That's why we will invest an additional £3 million a year to provide enhanced wellbeing support, both locally and nationally. This will increase our targeted support for staff wellbeing for everyone working in health and social care to £6 million, and increase our targeted support to primary and social care staff to £2 million.

Everyone working across health and care will have continued access to the National Wellbeing Hub and Helpline for advice. The hub is a wellbeing support service for staff that has already been used by more than 115,000 health and care staff since we created it in May 2020.

In the last six months we have introduced a new Workforce Specialist Service that is providing tailored, confidential mental health support to regulated staff across the NHS and social care workforces. It is the most expansive of its kind anywhere in the UK. Over 200 staff have already received bespoke mental health care and we will continue to invest in and grow the service in line with what staff tell us they need. We are also providing funding to NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to improve how Health boards' deliver psychological interventions and therapies to support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

We will offer further practical support for the physical and emotional needs of the workforce - this will include additional funding for rest areas, guidance to promote effective wellbeing conversations, new opportunities for staff to reflect on the emotional aspects of their work and further resources so staff at all levels can access peer support.

We will enhance occupational health for staff, and continuously evaluate the range of wellbeing support in place to ensure it is sufficient. In particular, we will identify with partners new ways to support the needs of those working in specific areas of work such as ICU, nursing, primary and social care. This work will inform the development of a new National Wellbeing Programme to be implemented from autumn 2021.

Significantly, we are recruiting more staff throughout the NHS so our ambitious recovery can be fully realised, with this plan outlining our commitment to:

  • Recruit 1,500 new clinical and non-clinical staff for National Treatment Centres by 2026
  • Provide 1,000 additional staff in Primary care mental health, giving every GP practice access to a link worker
  • Increase the number of medical undergraduate places by 100 per annum and double the number of widening access places
  • Invest £11 million over the life of this plan in new national and international recruitment campaigns and establish a national Centre for Workforce Supply
  • Create new youth employment opportunities in health and social care through our national Young Person's Guarantee
  • Provide additional training opportunities through the NHS Academy for new and existing staff in key areas of need, including pre and perioperative care and endoscopy

And we remain on track to deliver the following longer term commitments set out in the Integrated National Workforce Plan:

  • 800 new mental health workers by 2022
  • 500 advanced nurse practitioners
  • Increase the GP workforce by 800 by 2026
  • 225 new advanced musculoskeletal practitioners by 2024/25
  • Create 30 new reporting radiographer training places over the next 3 years
  • Create 30 training places in cardiac physiology


Email: Tracy.Slater@gov.scot

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