Safe staffing Bill shows RCN members are a force for good

 Tom Wilson 3 May 2019

New legislation for staffing for safe and effective care is a tribute to our influencing power, says Tom Wilson.

So, it’s official. The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill will become an Act. Yesterday (2 May) after debating 80 final amendments to the Bill, MSPs voted it through.

It’s a laudable achievement that’s been almost three years in the making, since First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the commitment from the stage at RCN Congress 2016 in Glasgow. 

It’s also a milestone piece of legislation because it’s the first legislation in the UK to set out requirements for safe staffing across both health and care services. 

But to me, first and foremost it represents what a powerful force for good RCN members can be. That’s because many of the provisions in the final Bill are there as a result of our lobbying and influencing, canvassing and cajoling. Important provisions include time and resources for CPD for staff, securing the supply of nurses in the NHS and ensuring sufficient time and resources for clinical leaders to lead care.

Your support for the #askformore campaign has played a key part in our ability to influence the Bill. Over 5,000 members and members of the public signed up to the campaign and more than 3,300 emails were sent to MSPs across Scotland expressing how important it is to get this legislation right.

Your personal stories have also been a powerful tool, from the 3,000 responses to the 2017 safe staffing survey, to the 80-plus members who attended focus groups, wrote blogs or recorded audio clips.

The Bill is only a starting point. We can take a moment to reflect on this achievement - it’s definitely something worth celebrating – but there is a lot of work yet to be done before full implementation of the legislation takes place. Once implemented, all health and care settings will benefit. I have no doubt that RCN members and staff will be fully engaged in this process.

Keep in touch with what happens next in the campaign for safe and effective staffing.

RCN Scotland Board Chair Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

Chair, RCN Scotland Board


Page last updated - 01/03/2020