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Scotland to introduce nurse staffing levels legislation

Scotland will introduce legislation for safer nurse staffing in the NHS, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress in Glasgow.


Ms Sturgeon (pictured) told delegates that the Government will make it a legal requirement for health boards to use nursing and midwifery workforce planning tools to calculate staffing levels.


Yesterday it was announced that The First Minister was expected to say, “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.”


Pam Easen, founder and chief executive of H1 Healthcare, commented, “As a nurse who has worked in both the private and public sectors I welcome the announcement from Ms Sturgeon. Safe staffing legislation is long overdue and will be hugely beneficial in ensuring the quality of care continues whilst the NHS meets ever-growing levels of demand for its services.”


Chief nursing officer for Scotland Fiona McQueen, yesterday stated, “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."


Discussions with stakeholders will take place this summer and the Scottish government will also investigate whether other parts of the workforce should see workforce tools developed as well.




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