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Ministerial Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce

The Scottish government has established the Ministerial Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce to address Scotland’s nursing workforce crisis.

The Taskforce was secured as a direct result of the RCN’s campaigning on safe staffing and fair pay for nursing.

We are calling for the Taskforce to deliver funded, timely and meaningful actions to retain nursing staff, to address the unsustainable level of vacancies, to expand routes into nursing and ultimately to grow Scotland’s nursing workforce.

Four working groups have been established to develop recommendations to improve wellbeing, attraction and retention, culture and leadership and education and development.

Our members views and priorities have been fed into the working groups. 

We also believe the Taskforce must be informed by the views and experiences of RCN members and other existing and future nursing staff.

Scope of the Taskforce

Read more about the scope of the Taskforce on the Scottish government website
Our Priorities for Action

Read our Priorities for Action

RCN Scotland set out the areas for action that we have been raising and we believe should be included in the Taskforce recommendations.

Led by the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Neil Gray MSP, the Taskforce was established in February 2023. It brings together recognised nursing and midwifery workforce experts, academia, Royal Colleges, Trade Unions, NHS, Social Care and Scottish Government representatives. 

Among the issues the Taskforce is considering are building exemplary workforce cultures; addressing operational barriers; improving working conditions, facilities and learning opportunities. 

Retention and recruitment are the key focus. Four working groups have been set up. These are looking at attraction, education and development, culture and leadership and wellbeing. The working groups will consider the issues and best practice in these areas and go on to make a series of recommendations to the Taskforce aimed at delivering sustainable, long-term change that will make nursing and midwifery a career of choice.


The taskforce was established as a direct result of campaigning by RCN members. Read more.

RCN Scotland is represented on the Taskforce and the four sub groups. RCN Scotland Director Colin Poolman and Associate Director for Nursing, Policy and Professional Practice, Eileen McKenna sit on the Taskforce and co-chair two of the sub groups. 

The Taskforce working groups are currently finalising their recommendations. These will be presented to the Cabinet Secretary later in the year. The RCN has made it clear that the work of the Taskforce must be informed by the views and experience of our members. Through the Listening Project, the Taskforce has heard directly from nurses, midwives and nursing support workers employed across health and social care services in Scotland as well as from students and those working in nursing and midwifery education. Thanks to members who took the time to engage in the Listening Project.

We have been clear from the outset of the Taskforce that broad, high-level recommendations will not be enough; it is critical that defined phased actions are agreed, funded and delivered inline with set timescales. The RCN has secured a commitment from the Cabinet Secretary that an implementation board will be established to oversee the delivery of the recommendations and actions. We continue to work with each of the working groups and to push our priorities for action.

Colin Poolman

Significance of work on pay system and nursing workforce can't be overstated

Read the latest blog from Colin Poolman, RCN Scotland Director

RCN report on the nursing workforce in Scotland

Our updated analysis of nursing workforce statistics and challenges facing workforce planning, RCN Scotland highlights the key trends, implications of the trends and makes recommendations for action to tackle the workforce crisis, including urgent need for a nursing retention strategy.

Your vote is your voice Scotland

Page last updated - 09/07/2024