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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06496: Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 24 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its plans to introduce minimum staffing levels in the NHS, as announced in June 2016.

Answered by: Shona Robison 3 February 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.

The Scottish Government’s Programme for Scotland made a commitment to begin work this year to engage with stakeholders to shape the consultation on enshrining safe staffing levels in law, starting with the nursing and midwifery workforce planning tools.

Scotland has led the UK in the development of nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning tools. 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.

The Safe and Effective Staffing legislation work is progressing and the consultation period will begin in Spring 2017.

Our intention is that Bill will have completed it’s legislative passage before the end of this Parliamentary session.