NHS staffing bill backed in principle by Health and Sport Committee

Written by Tom Freeman on 26 November 2018 in News

Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee publishes stage one report on the NHS safe staffing bill 

Hospital corridor - credit Julie Kertesz

New legislation to ensure staffing levels across Scottish health boards has been approved in principle by Holyrood’s health committee.

In a report on the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill at stage one, published today, the Health and Sport Committee said no-one would be likely to contest that healthcare needs “safe and high quality services”, but warned many stakeholders had said the bill “focusses on inputs rather than outcomes”.

The bill will need to be strengthened with “further detail and information”, the MSPs said, such as a clear line of accountability and more recognition of the integration of health and social care.

There are also remains the issue of wider workforce planning. Such as the challenges facing recruiting and retention of certain key roles.

“Although it is already the duty of health boards and care service providers to ensure appropriate numbers of staff the guiding principles of this Bill are unobjectionable. Having the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time to ensure the highest quality of care and outcomes are delivered across health and social care is a principle we share,” the report said.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Scotland welcomed the publication.

RCN’s Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “Frontline nursing staff know that the time is right for legislation on staffing levels to provide safe, high quality care.

 “The report sets out some of the complexities and challenges around the legislation. The RCN looks forward to working with stakeholders to address those, whilst keeping the focus on the need for positive change for staff and patients to make sure that the spirit of the legislation is delivered in practice.”

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