General principles of health and care staffing legislation supported by MSPs


The general principles of legislation aiming to ensure health and social care providers are providing adequate numbers of suitably qualified staff and high-quality services have been supported by the Health and Sport Committee.

However, MSPs have asked for more detail on how staff numbers and care quality will be assessed, monitored and reported following their scrutiny of the Health and Care (Staffing) Bill. They have also raised concerns about a danger of resources being skewed towards the hospital sector in order to meet the initial requirements set out in the legislation.

After hearing evidence on the proposals, MSPs also concluded that there needs to be greater accountability with named accountable officers in all settings to make clear that it is the provider that should be responsible and not those who are delivering the care. The Committee also supports an approach which has information displayed on every ward showing expected and actual staffing levels.

Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Lewis Macdonald MSP said:

“We all share the aim of having a health and social care system that has safe staffing levels, providing high-quality care. Having appropriately qualified staff in the right place at the right time is central to providing that level of care that we have come to expect.

“However, we heard a number of concerns about the proposals which we are asking the Scottish Government to address. It is essential resources are placed where they are most needed and care needs to be taken to ensure that the legislation does not treat some areas more favourably.

“We recognise the key role Allied Health Professionals play in the multidisciplinary teams that support high quality care across health and social care and their omission from the legislation is something we expect the Scottish Government to reflect on.

“We also want to see all parts of health and care treated in the same manner and when the Bill is extended to staffing in care settings we expect the same criteria to apply as in the NHS.”

Other recommendations set out in the report includes:

  • Professional judgement is a significant part of workforce planning decisions. Staff on the ground on any given day are best placed to input to decisions on what staffing requirements are. The Committee is seeking clearer direction on who this includes to ensure the input of those on the ground is not drowned out by competing priorities such as finance, medicines or a need for more doctors.
  • Training is a crucial aspect of any process and will impact on success. The Committee were keen to see adequate provision made to train staff and thereafter keep their skills up to date.


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