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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-19610: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 25 October 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-00793 by Nicola Sturgeon on 26 January 2017 (Official Report, c. 21), whether it will provide an update on how it is addressing Bliss Scotland's concerns regarding neonatal units not having enough nurses.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 November 2018

Health Boards must ensure that their neonatal units are appropriately and safely staffed. All NHS boards with a neonatal unit have run the neonatal nursing workload tool in 2016 and 2017, with the exception of NHS Highland. Scottish Government officials have contacted the Executive Nurse Director of NHS Highland about their use of the neonatal workforce planning tool. We will work with NHS Highland to ensure they run the neonatal workforce planning tool and provide whatever support they require.

NHS boards run the workload tool twice daily and the output provides valuable information not only for planning staffing numbers, but to identify staffing requirements on a daily basis which takes account of the dynamic nature of services. We have committed to enshrine safe staffing in law, placing the existing nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning tools on a statutory footing.

Bliss played a vital part in our national maternity and neonatal review, 'The Best Start: A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland'. Bliss are represented on the ‘Best Start’ Implementation Programme Board. The Programme Board is examining neonatal workforce and education as part of their programme of work to take forward the package of recommendations. Work is well underway to implement the recommendations contained within The Best Start review.

A full written update on progress will be available at the end of the year and will be placed in SPICe.