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Staffing for safe and effective care in Scotland

24 May 2018

New Scottish Government Bill on safe staffing shows ambition to getting staffing right for health and care but more work still to be done, says RCN Scotland.

Two years ago the First Minister addressed the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Congress in Glasgow and promised to enshrine safe staffing in law.

The Scottish Government has today published the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill. The RCN has worked constructively with the Scottish Government to highlight the areas where legislation has the potential to make a positive difference for patients and nursing staff.

Commenting on the publication of the Bill, Theresa Fyffe, Director, RCN Scotland said:

“Evidence shows that having the right number of nursing staff with the right skills and knowledge is linked to safer care and better outcomes.

“But our members have told us time and again that, because of staff shortages and every increasing demands on services, there are times when the staff working are not able to meet the needs of their patients. This is not only detrimental on the quality of care that people receive but also has an impact on the wellbeing of staff.

“Delivering safe and effective staffing in Scotland needs to be about more than putting workload and workforce planning tools on a statutory footing. It is about listening to highly skilled professionals and letting them exercise professional judgement; it is about ensuring that there is the flex in the system to adapt to real time changes in patient dependency and acuity; and it is about using that live data to plan effectively for the future.

“If Scotland is to seize the opportunity which legislation affords then there is still work to be done. But in introducing this Bill the Scottish Government has demonstrated an ambition to getting staffing for health and care right. And that is an ambition shared by the RCN and its members because the right legislation has the potential to change lives for the better.”