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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11527: Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 26 September 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure that NHS Forth Valley fills vacant consultant posts, and what its response is to reports that some posts have been unfilled for over three years.

Answered by: Shona Robison 24 October 2017

Under this Government, the number of consultants in NHS Forth Valley have increased by 49.9%, to 212.8 Whole Time Equivalent. It is normal for fluctuations in vacancies to occur as we expand capacity by recruiting even more staff.

The Scottish Government is fully committed to a sustainable NHS and its workforce, which continues to deliver a consistently high quality healthcare service to the people of Scotland.

While the Scottish Government sets strategic policies for the NHS in Scotland, it is the responsibility of NHS Boards – including NHS Forth Valley – to ensure that the workforce planning arrangements they have in place ensure enough professional staff and facilities are available to provide the best possible care for patients, in a variety of settings.

In June 2017 the Scottish Government published Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, which will strengthen and harmonise workforce planning practice, take full account of the future demand for safe and high quality services for Scotland’s people and work to accurately identify gaps in supply, including within the consultant workforce. We continue to work with all major stakeholders across Health and Social Care, including NHS Boards, as we take the Plan forward.

Parts 2 and 3 of the Plan, to be published later in 2017, will examine how to improve integrated workforce planning in social care and primary care settings. These important steps will enable different health and social care systems to move together towards publication of a second full Health and Social Care Workforce Plan in 2018 and beyond.