Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Government’s Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill, Dr Peter Bennie, Chair of BMA Scotland said:
“Legislating for safe staffing levels in our healthcare system is an important step and demonstrates that the Scottish Government rightly takes the issue extremely seriously.
“With a system that is under severe pressure and doctors and their colleagues stretched to their limits, it has never been more important to have the right mechanisms in place to ensure that staffing levels are safe. We hope that this bill can help introduce the right systems to help all staff feel safe and supported in delivering care in the demanding working environment that is Scotland’s NHS.
“Doctors need to know they will be consulted on staffing and have a clear pathway to escalate concerns until they are dealt with effectively. They also need to feel safe and protected to do so. If this bill can deliver on those requirements, then it will undoubtedly benefit both staff and patients, and we are happy to work with the Government and across parliament to deliver on those asks.
“However, there must also be an acceptance that this bill does nothing to tackle the core issues of recruitment and retention that are such a problem for NHS boards. Simply legislating for the right numbers of staff does not mean that more doctors will suddenly appear, or vacancies will be easier to cover. That is why, combined with this bill, we need more concerted and focussed action to recruit new doctors to Scotland, retain those we have and ensure that practicing medicine in Scotland is an attractive, effectively rewarded career choice.”
Details of the bill are available at https://news.gov.scot/news/effective-and-safe-nhs-staffing