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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05966: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 5 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government how many times in each of the last five years people have been treated in hospital wards that have not met a safe nurse-to-patient ratio.

Answered by: Shona Robison 31 January 2017

The link between safe and sustainable staffing levels and high quality care is well established. It is vital we have the right number of staff in place, with the right skills.

Scotland has led the UK in the development of nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning. The Nursing and Midwifery Workload and Workforce Planning Programme provides a validated framework and suite of tools that enable NHS Boards in Scotland to make evidence based decisions regarding Nursing and Midwifery workforce requirements in a variety of settings. The tools use a triangulated approach to determine appropriate staffing levels taking account of patients’ clinical needs, local context, professional judgment and associated quality measures, rather than a reliance on fixed ratios which are less responsive to the specific needs and dependencies of patients and to fluctuations in service demand.

Use of the tools was mandated for use in NHS boards since April 2013, as part of Local Delivery Planning.

The Scottish Government has committed to enshrine safe staffing in law, placing the nursing and midwifery workforce planning tools on a statutory footing.