Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce minutes: August 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 28 August 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Colin Poolman, RCN
  • Eileen Mckenna, RCN
  • Emma Currer, RCM – deputising for Jaki Lambert
  • Sam Foster, NMC
  • Liz Airns, GMB
  • Gavin Fergie, Unite
  • Matt McLaughlin, Unison
  • Wilma Brown, Unison
  • Jackie Mitchell, RCM
  • Professor Susan Dawkes, Council of Deans Health
  • Professor Aisha Holloway, Chair of Nursing Studies
  • Professor Patricia Findlay, Scottish Centre for Employment
  • Lesley Sharkey, MD Tayside
  • Serena Barnatt, HRD GJNH
  • Jenny Pope, Deputy Director Workforce
  • Karen Wilson, NHS NES
  • Fiona Davies, IJB Chief Officer
  • Fiona Hogg, Chief People officer
  • Alex McMahon, CNO
  • Justine Craig, CMO
  • Tai McLennan, Deputy Director of Leadership, Culture and Wellbeing
  • Stephen Lea-Ross, Deputy Director of Health Workforce
  • Isabella de Wit, Health Workforce Directorate
  • Jason Birch, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate
  • Daniel Macdonald, Health Workforce Directorate
  • Alison Carmichael, Health Workforce Directorate
  • Sophie Leslie, Health Workforce Directorate
  • Laura Whitelaw, Health Workforce Directorate


  • Anne Campbell, Vice Principal Ayrshire College
  • Professor Caroline Hollins-Martin, Council of Deans Midwifery
  • Gillian McCannon, Chair NHS Western Isles
  • Sharon Wilson, Health Workforce Directorate
  • Allie McMahon, Health Workforce Directorate


  • Jaki Lambert, RCM
  • Prof James Buchan, University of Edinburgh
  • Caroline Hiscox, Chief Exec NHS Grampian
  • Claire Pearce, ND Tayside
  • June Brown, ND Grampian
  • Gillian Russel, Director of Health Workforce
  • Richard McCallum, Director of Health Finance
  • Angie Wood, Interim Director, Social Care Resilience and Improvement
  • Jessica McPherson, Chief Nursing officer Directorate
  • Rachael Dunk, Chief Nursing officer Directorate

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions – Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care – Mr Michael Matheson

MM welcomed everyone, including new members to the second Ministerial led meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce (NMT) and invited all members to introduce themselves.

Minutes and actions from previous meeting 5 June 2023 - Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care – Mr Michael Matheson

MM asked members if they had any comments 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 record of the meeting.

There were four actions noted from the first taskforce meeting.

  • programme Management Office (PMO) to look at governance structures of subgroups to ensure NMT is supported by subgroups

Update: Action has been closed. Governance structure has been established and reporting templates have been shared. Subgroups will report to Isabella De Wit on a regular basis. Isabella will then collate into a monthly project update that will be shared with PMO.

  • email members with an invite to join subgroups and confirm subgroup membership wider membership

Update: Action has been closed. All subgroups have established their membership and have held initial meetings and have dates scheduled for follow up meetings.

  • follow up with co-chairs via email to understand what they would like to be included in the online poll and where events could be held to reach the workforce

Update: Action has been closed. The Listening project has set up an advisory group and the first poll went live August 21st, 2023.

  • to create a strategic engagement plan, building on what is already in place

Update: This action is ongoing, and an update will be provided by Isabella de Wit as part of agenda item 6.

Terms of reference – Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care – Mr Michael Matheson

MM asked members of the taskforce if they are content with this final edit of the Terms of Reference.

Members highlighted the ToR is focussed on the physical aspects of wellbeing, suggested explicit focus should also be put on emotional/psychological aspects.

Members agreed that  comment would be incorporated.

Current positioning update – Alex McMahon, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate

AM advised that it was agreed at the last official led Taskforce meeting on 05 June that the proposal of four subgroups would be established to cover the key themes, with retention as a reoccurring theme of all groups.

All subgroups have now been established and have met for the first time. Subgroups have been asked to build a shared understanding of the key issues affecting the nursing and midwifery workforces based on data and evidence, and, on the basis of dialogue, agree the key priorities, developing SMART recommended actions.

AM invited each subgroup co-chairs to provide an initial overview of key themes emerging from their subgroup and next steps.

The Culture and Leadership subgroup had their first meeting on 22 August 2023, where members reviewed the Terms of Reference and recognised the need to be very specific with the remit and ensure this has a solid evidence base. Highlighting the important that this work adds value and does not duplicate work. Culture and Leadership are also looking at the results on the Listening project, to ensure they are focusing on the right areas.

Attraction subgroup held its first meeting on the 26 July 2023 and this was a full day in person event. The attraction subgroup has also established a small steering group to drive the thinking of the group. The first meeting was very positive with useful discussion between members. The afternoon session was a World café style which had positive feedback, as people felt engaged. Three topics were discussed. These are marketing & promotion, recruitment, and intrinsic attraction.  During discussions a few key themes emerged including perception of the professions, intrinsic value, recognition, entry routes and the importance of developing earn as you learn routes. There are 2 outcomes that can be achieved in a relatively short period of time and will have tangible benefits for the Nursing and Midwifery workforce. The first is the development of a clear narrative around the professions and using marketing to promote consistent messaging to support attraction into nursing and midwifery undergraduate degree courses. The second is the development of a career roadmap, which sets out in a consistent manner the multitude of career options available to Nursing and Midwifery staff, highlighting that a career in Nursing and Midwifery is not linear. A workplan has been developed for the coming months, including regular meetings, prior to the next Ministerial led meeting in December 2023.

Education and Development subgroup with their first meeting held on 31 July 2023, members spent time looking at the Terms of Reference and they have a balance between midwifery and nursing representation. The initial meeting was held online and used a discussion board to discuss high level themes such as improving student attrition, protected learning time, widening access and clinical education and support.

Wellbeing group held their first meeting 01 August 2023 members discussed physical, mental and emotional wellbeing in the workplace and preventative measures.. LS highlighted that the NHS is good at the reactive side of improving wellbeing and we need to start being preventative. It was highlighted that there is a need to look at the cross-cutting work with other subgroups ensuring there is not a duplication of work.

AM welcomed the encouraging outcomes from initial meetings and the consensus of work moving forward. AM opened the meeting for discussion and asked members for any comments.

Discussion focussed on the Listening Project and its role in recognising the voice of the current nursing and midwifery practitioners. Members raised concerns in relation to newly qualified staff, highlighting they may not be confident in taking part, and the Listening Project will need to ensure they create a safe space for all staff to participate.

Members them discussed the current student intake, highlighting that universities are not filling all their places and there is a need for the Nursing and Midwifery taskforce to understand why people are not applying to these courses and the barriers people are identifying before applying and what would inhibit a career in nursing or midwifery.

Identified themes - Alex McMahon, Chief Nursing Officer Directorate

AM introduced the paper that was circulated and thanked all co-chairs and policy leads for their collaboration in producing the discussion paper for today’s meeting. This paper forms the basis of the discussion, and this will continue to be refined as work progresses within each subgroup.

AM asked all members to review the asks in the paper and to email policy colleagues with any comments they have. (Action one)

Listening project update – Isabella De Wit, Head of Capacity building and Recruitment Strategy

IDW presented a slide deck that provided an update on the Listening Project and interim snapshot of the responses so far from the pulse poll. 

Discussion focused on the need to ensure the data gathered is of a quality standard, and it is at a granular level to allows insight into what the key priorities are. People starting out in their career will have different priorities to someone who has 30 years’ experience. It is important that the Taskforce does not draw the wrong conclusions, and the need to make sure conclusions are drawn from quality data.   

MM highlighted it is important to have external scrutiny of data to bridge any gaps (action two)  

Next steps - Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care – Mr Michael Matheson

MM informed the group the next meeting will be held on the 6th of December in Edinburgh. Papers and agenda will be circulated closer to this date.

Any other business (AOB) - Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care – Mr Michael Matheson

MM asked members if they had any other business, they would like to inform the group of. There was no AOB identified.

Closing remarks - Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care – Mr Michael Matheson

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

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