Consultation on proposed safe staffing laws for nursing and midwifery: independent analysis of responses

Independent analysis of responses to the consultation on enshrining safe staffing in nursing and midwifery in law.

Chapter 1 - Introduction


This report presents analysis of responses to a Scottish Government consultation on safe and effective staffing in health and social care and proposals to enshrine safe staffing in law, starting with the nursing and midwifery workload and workforce tools.

The consultation paper invited views on proposals to introduce legislation that would require organisations providing health and social care to: apply nationally agreed, evidence based workload and workforce planning methodologies and nursing and midwifery workload workforce planning tools; ensure that key principles - notably consideration of professional judgement, local context and quality measures - underpin workload and workforce planning and inform staffing decisions; and monitor and report on how they have done this and provide assurance regarding safe and effective staffing.

The introduction of these requirements is intended to further ensure, and assure, safe and effective staffing and strengthen and enhance the arrangements already in place to support continuous improvements in workforce planning and employment practice across Scotland. The proposals build on the progress made through the Nursing and Midwifery Workload and Workforce Planning Programme. Ongoing experience and learning from this programme, nationally and locally, will inform detailed development of the proposed legislation.

The proposals are intended to:

  • Strengthen and enhance arrangements already in place to support continuous improvement and transparency in workforce planning and employment practice across Scotland.
  • Enable consideration of service delivery models and service redesign to ensure Scotland's health and social care services meet the needs of the people they serve.
  • Provide assurance - including for patients and staff - that safe and effective staffing is in place to enable the provision of high quality care.
  • Actively foster an open and honest culture where all staff feel safe to raise concerns regarding safe and effective staffing.

The consultation, which can be viewed at, was published on 11 April and closed on 5 July 2017.

A series of consultation events were also held, primarily targeted at nurses but with members of the general public also welcome to attend. Data gathered from these events has also been included in the analysis presented.

Profile of respondents

A total of 111 responses were received via Citizen Space, of which 35 were from groups or organisations and 76 from individual members of the public.

Organisational respondents were allocated to one of seven categories by the analysis team. A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is set out in Table 1 below and a full list of organisational respondents can be found in Annex 1.

Table 1: Respondents by type

Type of respondent Number
I ndividuals 76
Health & Social Care Partnership 5
Independent sector health or social care organisation 2
NHS based professional group or committee 5
NHS Body or Board 6
Other 3
Other public body 2
Professional college, body, group or union 12
Total Organisations 35
Total 111

In addition to the standard consultation process, a series of discussions groups were held across Scotland, with a total of 177 people attending. The location and number of events held are set out in the table below.

Table 2: Discussion Groups

Location Number
Aberdeen 5
Edinburgh 4
Glasgow 7
Inverness 4
Orkney 2
Shetland 1
Stornoway 2

Analysis and reporting

A small number of respondents did not make their submission on the consultation questionnaire but submitted their comments in a statement-style format. This content was analysed qualitatively under the most directly relevant consultation question.

The remainder of this report presents a question-by-question analysis. Where a closed question was asked, the results from the Citizen Space responses are presented first. The overall results from the discussion group feedback is also presented. This gives sets out how the 25 discussion groups answered the question. Please note, however, that no information is available as to the number of people in each group, or the basis on which a question was answered; for example, it is not known whether the option selected represents a unanimous or majority view. For this reason, these results should be seen as indicative rather than as representing a known balance of views amongst the 177 individuals who attended the discussion groups. The answers at closed questions by location of the group are presented in Annex 2 to this report.

The qualitative analysis of further comments sets out the range of views expressed by both Citizen Space respondents and those taking part in a discussion group. The most frequently-raised themes are set out at the beginning of the analysis of comments made at each question.


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