Report of Workforce Planning Action Day 15.4.02



Workforce Planning Action Day 15.4.02

This report is compiled from notes taken during the meeting, is for information only and does not constitute formal minutes. Consequently, I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Opinions expressed within the notes are those of meeting attendees and have been included for completeness. This does not necessarily mean I agree with them.

Mark Butler, HR Director NHS Scotland, opened the meeting by stating that the outcome of the meeting would be an action plan with the next steps and timescales.

Mary Mulligan, Deputy Health Minister, then set the tone for the meeting by saying that the Scottish Executive (SE) was committed to a workforce in the NHS which was the envy of others. The service needs to be able to plan ahead for the next 50 years, and it needs to improve its planning on the size and shape of the workforce. Processes in the past have not been as clear as SE would have liked and any new system needs to be more transparent. There is a need to balance long and short term requirements and the system must be adaptable enough to cope with new techniques requiring new skills and legislative changes such as the Working Time Directive.

3 regional centres are described. There needs to be discussion on the Health Boards comprising each. All stakeholders need to feel they can influence matters and the centre will produce guidelines, not directives. The goalposts have shifted and the focus is now workforce development not workforce planning and numbers. (This shift caused problems for the rest of the meeting.) The idea is to move away from competition between Trusts and Health boards to a complementary basis of working. Partnership is vitally important in this process.

Prof. Gillian Needham, Chair of the Scottish Integrated Workforce Planning Group, then presented a short summary of the SIWPG report.

Mike Palmer presented a short summary of the SEHD response to the report. Workforce planning had changed to workforce development; integrating education and training, recruitment and retention, new ways of working and the impact of service redesign.

In building workforce development capacities, North, East and West regional workforce centres had been suggested. The question of whether they were staffed or existed as virtual centres had not been decided. The consensus of opinion from the responses was for virtual centres. There was also the question of how they engaged with other interests e.g. Local Authorities, education providers and local enterprise companies. Regional outputs would include a regional workforce plan, recruitment and retention strategies, promotion of new ways of working and development of a robust evidence base.

A national workforce unit would guide and co-ordinate the regional centres. It would deal with national workforce planning and recruitment and retention. It would be responsible for linking with other SEHD policies e.g. education and training. It would help develop a national data strategy. A service National Workforce Committee is also to be created.

The key themes described in the responses to the report were

Discussions at this meeting would identify a way forward and there will be a report back to all interests.

The meeting then broke into groups to discuss the regional centres and what was needed now to make them fit for purpose? The responses given at the feedback session are noted below.

At this point in the proceedings, Malcolm Chisolm, Minister for Health and Community Care, arrived and toured the second set of workshops which produced the questions / comments / recommendations listed below.

Information and planning

Prioritising the agenda

There are three key themes

Information Health Boards need to buy into the agenda and a common language must be developed. There are too many instances of different titles meaning the same thing and different interpretations of the same title. Service delivery is key to building public and staff confidence and lead to the both groups being able to make informed choices as long as they are aware of the information.

Investment The key phrase is having the "right people in the right place at the right time". However, does the service have the right people in the right place to identify that the "right people are in the right place at the right time". There has to be the right balance between work and leisure for staff. There are many staff who enjoy the job but not the intensity at which they have to work. Are proper career paths available? The next generation of workers will not accept 20th Century working patterns. Are staffing levels sufficient? Are staffing levels actually correct with the problem being that the resources are there, but not in the right place?

Inclusivity / partnership There is a need to build on the Joint Futures partnerships and relationships.

Organisational and Cultural Change

Research and Development

It was noted that the agenda is very large. The information database should probably be the first task to ensure everyone was working in the same way. The shift from workforce planning to workforce development two quite different things was causing problems for some of the attendees.

The next step was to put all the information into an action plan. This would be issued by the Health Department with a short time for the service to comment and amend. The actions need to be identified as initial to long term, but the process needs to start as soon as possible.

The Minister, in closing the meeting, stated that the Executive is committed to taking this forward and that any further ideas or comments should be sent to Grant Hughes at the Health Department.

The points from the workshops included above are only those which were presented at the feedback sessions. Many other points were made during the workshops and most of these were captured on flip charts. The points not included in the feedback presentations were nevertheless taken away to be included in the report of the day.

Colin Rodden
18.4.02

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