The Scottish Government has set out its Programme for Government: 2021 to 2022

The College welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase funding of health and social care in Scotland. It will be important to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck in the distribution of that funding between health and social services. A National Care Service may facilitate that distribution.

However, whilst such increases in funding must clearly be welcomed, the College expresses concern that money alone will not solve the workforce problem that confronts the health and social care sectors. Substantial gaps in workforce exist and many initiatives now proposed will take considerable time to bear fruit. In addition, there is a danger that recruitment to new initiatives, albeit important one such as National Treatment Centres, will compromise retention in other parts of the service.

We urge the Scottish Government not only to ensure that the working environment in the Scottish NHS is as conducive as possible to retention of staff, and that all staff receive meaningful support for their wellbeing, but also to immediately explore how ethical recruitment of international health and social care staff can be quickly taken forward. This represents the likeliest means by which professionals with the appropriate skillsets to deliver care and support recovery can be recruited in the short and intermediate term.

Finally, we have previously lobbied for several of the specific initiatives included in the Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead, including the right for relatives to visit patients and residents, and support for people who use drugs.