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by Staff Reporter
01 April 2024
Scottish NHS staffing levels law comes into force in UK-first

Neil Gray meets staff at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow | Alamy

Scottish NHS staffing levels law comes into force in UK-first

Health Secretary Neil Gray has hailed a "significant day" as legislation on health and care staffing levels comes into effect.

The development comes five years after the law was passed in the Scottish Parliament.

The Health and Care (Staffing) Act was voted through in 2019 and is the first legislation of its kind in the UK.

Gray, who stepped into the health role in a cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of Michael Matheson, said: "Today is a significant day for health and social care in Scotland. This new Act, which forms a key part of our efforts to reform and recover health and care, will ensure services are more effective, efficient and sustainable.

"It will help put in place systems and processes to allow real-time assessments on staffing levels, meaning resources can be managed more easily and that people can get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

"The Act will also help to embed a culture of openness so workers are informed about decisions relating to staffing and feel able to raise any concerns."

However, Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "Ensuring safe staffing levels is a laudable goal but given how often plans and strategies have come and gone with little impact on working conditions, I know many health staff are cynical that this will have a real impact on the pressure they are under.

"What the health secretary needs to explain is whether anyone in government will face any consequences if this legislation does not deliver."

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