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NHS safe staffing to be enshrined in law

Published: 19 Jun 2016 00:01

Measures to further strengthen patient safety.

NHS Scotland's commitment to safe staffing levels is to be reinforced with new legislation, the centenary congress of the Royal College of Nursing will be told in Glasgow tomorrow.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said discussions with stakeholders will begin this summer with the aim of putting health staffing on a statutory basis.

Addressing the UK wide congress the First Minister will tell delegates:

"Since this Government came to power in 2007 there are more than 2,300 extra qualified nurses and midwives working in our NHS.

"In addition to having record staffing levels, Scotland has led the UK in the development of mandatory nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning tools that help health boards to plan for the number of staff they require.

"By using these tools, health boards can make sure they have the right number of staff to provide the best possible care for patients in a variety of specialities.

"To build on our record, we will enshrine these planning tools in law and examine what other areas of the workforce would benefit from having similar tools developed, which will further strengthen our commitment to patient safety in our wards.

"The RCN and other nurse representatives were vital to the creation of the innovative workforce planning tools, and they'll continue to play a key role as we develop the new law."

Chief Nursing Officer Professor Fiona McQueen said:

"The link between safe and sustainable staffing levels – including qualified nurse numbers - and high quality care is well established.

"It's vital to have the right number of staff in place, with the right skills. We already have building blocks in place in Scotland to achieve this, including evidence based planning tools and enhanced training."

Notes to editors

Read here for more information on workforce planning tools. http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Workforce/Nursing-and-Midwifery/NMWWP/