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Timetable announced for safe staffing legislation

22 June 2022

WORK IS underway to implement legislation designed to support the wellbeing of healthcare staff and patients, and will be completed by spring 2024.

The Health and Care (Staffing) Act, passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2019, is the first workload and workforce planning legislation for the NHS and social care in Scotland. It aims to ensure appropriate staffing levels are in place to support high quality care for patients and service users.

The legislation is also designed to embed a culture of openness so that workers are informed about decisions relating to staffing and feel able to raise any concerns.

Work will begin now, in conjunction with professional bodies, trade unions and staff, to develop guidance and tools to support the implementation of the legislation. Alongside this, NHS health boards will pilot and test the guidance and tools, and share learning across Scotland to support full implementation in 2024.

Health and social care secretary Humza Yousaf said, "This legislation will mean that the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time, ensuring the best outcomes for patients and service users.

“The provisions in the Act will promote safe and appropriate staffing across our NHS and social care services and in turn improve patient experience.

“Measures set out in the Act will support an open and honest culture, where workers are engaged in relevant processes and informed about decisions relating to staffing.

“This will be a key feature of our efforts to get the NHS back to full recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic, and  build on existing work to increase recruitment and promote staff wellbeing

“We are absolutely committed to engagement with trade unions and employers in relation to producing the necessary guidance before full implementation of the Act’s provisions."