Public views being sought on safe NHS staffing legislation

7 June 2018, 05:39

NHS

MSPs want to hear views on a planned new law to ensure safe staffing in the NHS.

The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill will mean that NHS boards and care services are legally required to have appropriate numbers of trained staff in place.

The bill is intended to help health and care services in their workload planning.

Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee is examining the bill and has issued a call for evidence.

Members are seeking opinions on the strengths and weaknesses in the proposed legislation.

Committee convener Lewis Macdonald said: "By far the biggest asset of the health service is its staff, who work tirelessly to look after the needs of patients.

"To provide high-quality and safe care, we need to be assured that the right number of appropriately qualified staff are available to provide that care.

"Openness and transparency should be central to how the health service approach safe and effective staffing.

"The committee is keen to discover how responsive and accessible the NHS in Scotland will be, so that patients can have confidence in the care available."

The call comes a day after the Scottish Government faced criticism for vacancy levels in NHS Scotland.

Long-term vacancies rose by more than 20% for consultants, nurses and midwives between March 31 2017 and the same date this year.

Doctors' organisation BMA Scotland vacancies are adding to staff pressures as opposition parties accused the Scottish Government of mismanaging the health service.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the planned legislation would help support a reduction in vacancy rates and "ensure we have the right staff with the right skills in the right place".