We welcome the publication yesterday of the Scottish Government’s five year NHS Recovery Plan, which outlines ambitious targets and actions to address some of the key challenges in our health service. There are many positive initiatives in this plan and it is encouraging to see a realistic time scale.
It is essential that workforce, wellbeing of staff and innovative approaches to service re-design are key aspects of the recovery, and we are pleased to see each of these key challenges being addressed in the plan. The crisis in social care and the development of the National Care Service is also a key area that needs to be addressed to make meaningful change across the whole system.
The health and wellbeing of the workforce is critical to any recovery of services and we welcome the commitment to increase investment in staff wellbeing and support, including additional funding for rest areas, peer support, and the development of a new National Wellbeing Programme.
Recruitment and retention of staff are two of the most pressing issues facing our health service. We have frequently called for action to increase the number of medical school places to address our workforce shortage, and to widen participation to those from areas of multiple deprivation. We welcome the commitment in the recovery plan to deliver on both of these areas over the next five years. However, these initiatives will take many years to grow our workforce and we believe it is essential that there is more focus on retention of staff.
Workforce capacity can be supported through the development and training of enhanced roles such as advanced nurse practitioners and surgical care practitioners to maximise the workforce and we welcome the commitment to build on the workforce across multiple specialist areas. These commitments will help to meet increasing demand as we look to the future, however we also need to be mindful of the immediate challenges we face. Our healthcare services are facing exceptionally high levels of demand and rapidly building capacity is going to be essential as is managing public expectations with clear information and messaging.
Training and time for training is critical to maintaining and developing the workforce. We welcome the plans for a National Workforce Strategy and view this as pivotal to the implementation of the Recovery plan.
We are keen to support the government in implementing this recovery plan by working in partnership and drawing on the enormous expertise from our members.
Full details of the NHS Recovery Plan can been accessed here.