NHS Scotland - winter preparedness plan: 2020 to 2021

The Winter Preparedness Plan sets out, at a high level, the broad context and priorities for the NHS in Scotland until March 2021.

Supporting our Staff

Covid-19 has put unprecedented pressure on our health and social care services, and front line and key workers have been outstanding in their response throughout. We cannot provide the services without them, and we need to make every effort to look after their mental and physical wellbeing to ensure their continued resilience and the resilience of health and care services over the coming winter period.

At a fundamental level, we will take forward action to ensure the right level of staffing is in place for the coming winter and beyond, and we will look at opportunities to encourage more people to consider a role in Health and Social Care (HSC). Over the winter period, we will continue to look to support staffing through the recruitment of temporary and emergency staff to support our priority services, including extended flu vaccinations, test and protect and support to care homes. We will also look to recruit qualified personnel to provide resilience to COVID-19 emergency response services and to provide opportunities for substantive staff to take leave. Learning from the first phase of the pandemic means we will be more targeted in seeking recruitment, in line with what we anticipate to be the ‘uneven’ impact of this phase of the pandemic on our health and social care services.

We will ensure that provision is made for a range of wellbeing support measures, such as staff wellbeing ‘hubs’, common rooms/rest areas, helplines and listening services, links with Occupational Health and Chaplaincy services, peer support, leadership development / coaching initiatives, mental health guidance and digital offerings. Many of the territorial boards’ wellbeing offerings have been extended to the social care workforce in their areas.

We will establish an HSC Mental Health Network to enhance existing mental healthcare provision and to supplement support which has already been instigated on behalf of HSC staff locally and nationally, backed initially by £5 million of funding. Additionally, we launched the National Wellbeing Hub (www.promis.scot) on 11 May: a single site, free to access, with digital resources, advice, communications toolkits, and signposting to additional support for all staff.

As we take forward learning from the first phase of the pandemic, we must remain mindful of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic staff; we are working with health board Race Equality Networks to provide targeted support, and to seek their advice and feedback in respect of our ongoing approach to effective risk management, and to monitor the workplace needs of minority staff groups.

Over the winter, we will continue to work with health boards and stakeholders to take forward these priorities and bring together coordinated support for staff both nationally and locally. We will supplement winter service planning activity with a Winter Workforce Planning Framework. This will support both local and national recruitment and rapid deployment, direct how we target wellbeing support and psychological interventions, and ensure that we continue to respond dynamically to staffing issues.


Email: Winter_Planning_Team_Mailbox@gov.scot

Back to top