Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce minutes: June 2024

Minutes from the meeting of the group 5 June 2024

Attendees and apologies

  • Eileen McKenna, RCN (EM)
  • Jaki Lambert, RCM (JL)
  • Gavin Fergie, Unite (GF)
  • Matt McLaughlin, Unison (MM)
  • Wilma Brown, Unison (WB)
  • Jackie Mitchell, RCM (JM)
  • Ashley Shepherd, Council of Deans of Health (AS)
  • Professor Aisha Holloway, Chair of Nursing Studies (AH)
  • Claire Pearce, ND NHS Tayside (CP)
  • June Brown, ND Grampian (JBr)
  • Lesley Sharkey, MD NHS Tayside (LS)
  • Jenny Pope, Deputy HRD (JP)
  • Gillian McCannon, Chair of NHS Western Isles (GM)
  • Karen Wilson, Depute Chief Executive and Executive Director of NMAHP (KW)
  • Fiona Davies, IJB Chief Officer (FD)
  • Jim Buchan, Health Foundation, University of Edinburgh (JB)
  • Caroline Hiscox, NHS Chief Executive (CH)
  • Sam Foster, Nursing and Midwifery Council (SF)
  • Anne Campbell, Further Education (AC)
  • Margrieta Langins, World Health Organisation, (ML)
  • Carey McCarthy, World Health Organisation (CM)
  • Gillian Russell, Director of Health Finance (GR)
  • Tai McLennan, Deputy Director of Leadership, Culture and Wellbeing (TM)
  • Stephen Lea-Ross, Deputy Director of Health Workforce (SL)
  • Isabella de Wit, Health Workforce Directorate (IDW)
  • Kenny Nairn, Pay, Terms and Conditions (KN)
  • Kirstie Campbell, Maternal and Infant Health (KC)
  • Rachael Dunk, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate (RD)
  • Jason Birch, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate (JBi)
  • Iona Ducket, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate (ID)
  • Nicola Gibb, Health Workforce Directorate (NG)
  • Alison Carmichael, Culture and Wellbeing (ACa)
  • Emma Dilger, Health Workforce Directorate (ED)
  • Laura Whitelaw, Health Workforce Directorate (LW)
  • Rebecca Hunter, Health Workforce Directorate (RH)
  • Jaclyn Tarrant, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate (JT)
  • Barbra Livingston, Finance Business partner (BL)
  • Louise Mayes, Programme Management office (LM)
  • Laura Stewart, Programme Management office (LSt)
  • Jordan Renfrew, Programme Management office (JR)


  • Professor Caroline Hollins-Martin, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Professor Susan Dawkes, Robert Gordon University
  • Serena Barnatt, HRD NHS Golden Jubilee
  • Alex McMahon, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Justine Craig, Chief Midwifery Officer
  • Daniel MacDonald, Health Workforce Directorate
  • Richard McCallum, Director of Health Finance and Governance
  • Colin Poolman, RCN
  • Liz Airns, GMB
  • Jane Douglas, Scottish Care
  • Angie Wood, Interim Director Social Care Resilience and Improvement

Items and actions

Introductions – Gillian Russel, Director of Health Workforce

GR welcomed everyone to the second meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce (NMT) and introduced new members to the taskforce.

Minutes and Actions from previous meeting 6 April 2023 - Gillian Russel, Director of Health Workforce

GR asked members if they had any objections or amendments to the previous meeting minutes. No amendments were put forward and members unanimously agreed to the previous meeting minutes to be a true and accurate reflection of the meeting.

There were three actions from the first taskforce meeting.

  • action 1 – revise and finalise ToR, including additional reps and produce a proposition around reporting and governance

Update: Nicola Gibb and Laura Whitelaw have contacted Project Management and are meeting with them again this week to progress this action, we have also made contact with colleagues from the Drugs Death Taskforce to understand their reporting and governance structures.

Both action 2 & 3 are discussed in their agenda item.

  • action 2 - set up a workplan and schedule for subgroups, including how chairs and leads are selected
  • action 3 - how can the NMT shape the national conversation and options on how these are structured and managed

Data – Steve Lea-Ross, Deputy director of Health Workforce

SLR presented Health and Social Care Workforce’s current context high level strategic challenges. This included an overview of key metrics and key policy considerations that highlighted a set of challenges for the coming years such as distribution of workforce supply, investment in workforce and opportunities for system capacity improvements such as e-rostering, increasing the role of technology etc.

It was highlighted that this data does not disaggregate midwifery from nursing. Members agreed that if the NMT is to give equal weighting to both professions, the data needs to be explored further. This was noted as an action. Members also discussed the dangers of focusing purely on acute nursing and must be aware of other disciplines that are struggling also.

SLR highlighted that due to time constraints the presentation slides were limited and focused on the data as a whole and can disaggregate nursing and midwifery.

Members advised the working of this taskforce will be of broader interest but there is a need to make sure the NMT covers all aspects of nursing and midwifery and ensure parts of the professions are not being overlooked.

Subgroup Proposal – Isabella De Wit, Head of Capacity building and Recruitment Strategy

IDW highlighted that members agreed the importance of have a structure to the NMT that develop deliverable recommended actions and have a way to monitor their implementation. Members also agreed the need to have prioritisation and decision making clearly guided by evidence and share on work and programmes that are currently implemented and their effects - and based on our shared understanding of the situation seeking action to deliver against in the very short term, i.e. quick wins - as well as medium term action.

A proposition for a substructure to the Taskforce membership and template for the purpose of data gathering was shared with members. The proposed four subgroup themes will be Leadership and culture, Wellbeing, Learning and Development, and Attraction. These groups will consider retention as a thread running through all their discussions. IDW asked members if they agree to this approach. There will also be a 5th subgroup, which functions as an advisory group to the development of the National Conversation, which we will propose to call the Listening Project.

Cochairs have been identified and subgroups should meet prior to the next NMT meeting, with an initial task to consider issues that can be focus on as they are crucial to supporting an initial virtual engagement with existing staff via a questionnaire early summer to help us understand how staff in the workplace would prioritise those.

IDW welcomed Carey McCarthy and Margrieta Langins from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide a summary of methodology for facilitation of strategic policy discussions to support consensus.

CM highlighted current publications such as Global strategy workforce 2030 document and The global strategy directions 2021-25. Carey discussed how to grow education and employment is grounded in the evidence. The WHO work with many organisations to understand the broad labour market, and understand the full picture of education, jobs and economy. To understand this picture, requires engagement to arrive at SMART outcomes, using a paradigm of data dialogue and decision making. Gathering evidence via dialogue is a good way to ensure neutrality. However, there are challenges associated such as challenging assumptions and looking closely at the data to examine robustness.

Members agreed to using this proposed methodology.

Members asked if there are any countries that are doing better than we are?

ML advised every country is different and although there may be similar issues faced by countries many elements are different. The WHO are happy to give different country comparisons, showing what actions were taken and the solutions they implemented.

Members agreed that as a starting point, it would be important to look and countries similar in size to Scotland such as Ireland, The state of Victoria and New South Wales or British Columbia for examples. Learning from what works well, however there is an importance that this links specifically to the themed subgroups.

Subgroup Co-chair - Gillian Russel, Director of Health Workforce

GR advised Co-chairs have been identified for all 4 subgroups and require ratification by the taskforce membership. The proposed co-chairs are as follows:

  • culture and leadership: Fiona Hogg, Chief People Officer and Colin Poolman, RCN
  • wellbeing: Wilma Brown, UNISON and Lesley Sharkey, MD
  • attraction: Claire Pearce, SEND and Eileen McKenna, RCN
  • education and development: Susan Dawkes, CODH and Jaki Lambert, RCM

 No objections were raised and cochairs are therefore ratified.

GR welcomed the cochairs and invited them to introduce themselves.

IDW advised that all taskforce members are invited to join as many of the subgroups as they wish, however they are required to join at least one. There will be required areas of expertise we need to bring onboard subgroups. This will be discussed with policy colleagues and chairs. A request will be sent following this meeting inviting members to join subgroups and confirm subgroup membership and wider membership.

Listening Project – Emma Dilger, Health Workforce Directorate

ED proposed to change the name from ‘National Conversation to the ‘Listening Project’ to attract as many people as possible to engage, ensuring. Recognising the importance that participants feel heard and advised that work is underway to consider how in-person events could work alongside virtual events utilising existing links with Unions and their communication channels with the targeted audiences. It would be beneficial to conduct an exercise that looks at feedback currently available and draw down key themes to frame discussion.

The first step for the engagement strategy would be a virtual poll of the workforce and students to understand what they would like to see as part of the conversations. This would be used to provide a framework for discussion.

Members discussed the need to be clear about the scope and limitations of using online polls and as we are trying to engage a nationwide workforce working 24/7 across all areas, we must be clear about the exclusions that could occur with selecting only a few physical sites. Members also noted the need to be thoughtful about areas such as the islands boards, as participants may face issues such as transport, time away from work base, and financial considerations. 

ED confirmed we would like to create a fifth subgroup to act as an advisory group for the Listening Project. As discussed, this will help with priority setting and sense checking as we shape the engagement work. We will have a think about what this might look like and come back to the NMT.  

Next Steps - Gillian Russel, Director of Health Workforce

GR advised that the next meeting is on 28 August 2023 at 1pm to 3pm. This meeting will be chaired by the cabinet minister for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care.

The next steps are:

  • subgroup to establish membership by 16 June 2023.
  • subgroups to have an initial meeting and develop a consensus on priorities and one or two quick wins to report back to the next Taskforce meeting
  • thinking about questionnaire content. Emma Dilger will follow up with an email to members gather thinking.

Closing Remarks

GR thanked everyone for attending and brought the meeting to a close.

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