Winter planning discussions: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. Since 1 April 2023, On how many occasions has winter planning for the NHS been on an agenda for a Scottish Government cabinet meeting.

2. Since 1 April 2023, On how many occasions have Humza Yousaf or Michael Matheson met with NHS chief executives to discuss winter planning for the NHS?


The answer to your questions is given below.

1. National Health Service performance and planning is discussed on a weekly basis at Cabinet.

2. An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested because we published that information on 18-July-23. The information is available at NHS Chief Executives Meeting: May 2023 - (

On 22-August, the Cabinet Secretary met with system leaders from across health and social care at the 2023/24 Winter Summit.

The Cabinet Secretary has a regular private call with the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland to cover key areas, including winter planning.

NHS planning for winter has been a priority and, as such, was actively underway immediately following the end of last winter. Senior Scottish Government officials, including the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, Chief Operating Officer of NHS Scotland and the Chief Medical Officer, have often represented Ministers in regular operational meetings during this period with NHS leadership; and these operational meetings have frequently covered winter preparedness, alongside wider planning and performance issues.

In turn, these discussions have informed – and been informed by - regular dialogue between senior Scottish Government officials and Ministers. The Cabinet Secretary also attended and spoke to the National Winter Summit on 22 August, which gathered stakeholders and leaders from across health and social care in Scotland to set out and discuss the approach to this winter; within the overall aim of maximising the continued recovery of services following the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst maintaining operational resilience, as far as possible.

Since 1 April 2023, the First Minister has met regularly with senior officials and the Cabinet Secretary to discuss the winter planning and preparedness across NHS and Health and Social Care Partnerships.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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