Scottish Labour has launched the NHS and Social Care Workforce Commission
The Health and Social Care Workforce Commission has been set up after a decade of SNP mismanagement of our NHS, which has seen a chronic shortage of NHS and social care staff across the sector.
During her time as Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon cut training places for nurses and midwives, the result of which is still being felt with 2,500 nurse and midwife vacancies in the NHS.
Scottish Labour has already published research this week that found that private agency spend has increased six-fold in the last five years and that up to 20 NHS services are under threat explicitly because of staff shortages.
This also followed reports earlier this week on the underfunding of GPs with one-in-three practices reporting a vacancy.
The workforce commission will attempt to address the shortage of staff blighting our health service.
It will consider how best to decide the appropriate number of training places for health care workers, attract and retain students through enhanced support and examine how to improve plummeting staff morale in the NHS.
Scottish Labour has already committed to lifting the public sector pay cap and the commission will consider ways to clamp down on the spiralling private agency spending in the health service.
Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said:
“A decade of SNP mismanagement has left our NHS staff overworked, undervalued, under-resourced and underpaid. We have severe shortages of NHS staff including nurses, midwives, GPs and consultants.
"This is now starting to impact on services and patient care too with a number of services under threat as we simply don’t have the staff to operate them.
“Staff morale is at rock bottom in the health service, with staff reporting there simply aren’t enough of them to do the job properly. “This is part of the legacy left by Nicola Sturgeon who as Health Secretary slashed the number of training places for nurses and midwives.
"We now have a Health Secretary, Shona Robison, who is out of her depth and out of ideas. That is why our health service is in desperate need for a meaningful workforce plan.
“Our commission will bring together professionals from across the NHS, representing different sectors, who will together examine the underlying causes for this staffing crisis and importantly develop a strategy and policies to address them.
Here are more details on our Health and Social Care Workforce Commission: Key areas the commission will be exploring:
- consider how best to decide the appropriate number of training places for health care workers.
- develop a strategy for attracting and retaining NHS and Social Care staff, including considering pay in light of the ongoing pay cay and career pathways
- consider funding models, for example whether direct payments to students will better support healthcare students.
- examine the public sector’s reliance on agency staff.
- analyse the potential impact of demographic changes on future workforce requirements.
- consider what additional frameworks, regulations and legislation could best support the health and social care workforce.