National cancer plan: progress report - August 2022

Scotland's national cancer plan comes to completion in March 2023. This report uses insights from the available evidence to update on progress against all 68 actions in the plan as at 31 August 2022.

Cancer Plan Progress Updates: Workforce

Actions for Workforce

Action 49 – Enhance the Cancer Nurse Specialist role

Commitment: We will work with the Scottish Cancer Lead Nurse / Nurse Consultant Group to support the enhancement of the Cancer Nurse Specialist role, including by determining which tasks can be reallocated.

Progress: In August 2021, the Scottish Government published the report of a Short Life Working Group which reviewed Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner Roles within Scotland, including those working in the cancer speciality. Work is ongoing with Cancer Nurse Consultants and Lead Cancer Nurses to look at their roles and potential reallocation of tasks. Delivery of this action is being supported by other work streams including the Single Point of Contact pilot projects (Action 3), Transforming Cancer Care (Action 1) and wider workforce discussions.

Action 50 – Health and care workforce testing for COVID-19 as the risk persists

Commitment: All healthcare workers in specialist cancer wards will continue to be offered weekly testing to help minimise the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in Scotland and determine whether this testing strategy continues to be appropriate.

Progress: Decisions around testing healthcare workers for COVID-19 continue to be discussed at a national level. Feedback on how testing impacted healthcare workers in a cancer setting was shared with Scottish Government officials responsible for testing policy to inform decision-making. In turn, officials responsible for testing policy shared relevant updates with cancer policy officials so that cancer services could be kept informed of changes in testing policy. Health Boards now have robust policies on testing that continue to be implemented.

Action 51 – Work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland Healthcare staffing programme to appropriately plan workforce requirements

Commitment: We will work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s (HIS) Healthcare Staffing Programme to ensure that future workload and workforce requirements in cancer services can be appropriately planned, in line with The Health and Care (Staffing)(Scotland) Act (2019).

Progress: There was a pause in the HIS Healthcare staffing programme due to emerging workforce modelling and publication of the Scottish Government Health Workforce strategy. Work is now ongoing to assess staffing requirements and possible new models of care by March 2023. This intelligence will feed into decision making about training placements and locations of trainees.

Action 52 – Provide guidance to Health Boards on how to improve and foster clinical leadership

Commitment: We will provide guidance to Health Boards on how they can support clinical leadership and continuous improvement in cancer services by June 2021.

Progress: Clinical leadership guidance was published on 26 April 2022. It is intended that cancer service staff will use the guidance to plan and undertake leadership development opportunities. We have initiated succession planning sessions for governance groups in order to enhance clinical leadership skills. To date, a number of meetings with cancer clinicians and/ or management within each region have taken place with West of Scotland Cancer Network (WoSCAN) and South East Cancer Network (SCAN), to raise awareness of opportunities to participate in governance groups.

Action 53 – Endorse the Flying Finish workforce challenge across cancer services

Commitment: We will endorse the Flying Finish workforce challenge across all staff groups including cancer services, to support work streams around end of career planning and enable meaningful career longevity.

Progress: This action has been superseded by Workforce Short Life Working Groups, undertaking immediate and long-term modelling. We have convened a National Oncology Taskforce of Board Chief Executives and Medical Directors to consider national solutions to support the resilience of SACT services specifically.



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