I believe that it is fully and properly staffed.
Despite the significant challenges of Scotland’s public health record, its changing demography and the economic environment, the Scottish Government has set out a strategic vision for achieving sustainable quality in the delivery of healthcare services across Scotland.
The 2020 vision delivers the necessary strategic narrative and context for taking forward the implementation of the quality strategy and the required actions to improve efficiency and achieve financial sustainability. I welcome the Scottish Government’s 2020 vision to ensure that everyone is able to live longer and healthier lives, that we have a healthcare system where health and social care go hand in hand and that we continue to focus on prevention, anticipation and supported self-management. It is critical to continue pursuing the goal of providing the highest standards of quality and safety, regardless of the setting, with the patient at the centre of all decisions.
It is therefore important that all forms of support across our communities are nurtured. On Monday, I visited the Coatbridge meeting of the Lanarkshire carers group, where I heard at first hand from carers how much they valued the service and how worried they are about the pending cuts by North Lanarkshire Council, which might impact on how they care for their relatives. It is imperative that we provide support across the board to such support services. I have also had contact with the St Andrew’s MS self-support group, whose chairperson is a constituent of mine. That group is fighting for an increase in the number of specialist multiple sclerosis nurses across North Lanarkshire, and I have submitted a question to the cabinet secretary on the matter. That is another example of how we can provide support to such support services.
As we have heard, a key point is that the SNP Government has committed to enshrine safe staffing in law, and the consultation period for that will begin early in spring this year. The link between safe and sustainable staffing levels and high-quality care is well established. As other members have said, it is vital to have the right number of staff in place, with the right skills; the debate benefited from Emma Harper’s contribution on that aspect, given her experience. Scotland has led the United Kingdom in the development and implementation of nursing and midwifery workload and workforce planning tools, for example.
Progress has been made but, given the changing demographics and Tory cuts, we must continue to work together and be innovative across all health services so that those who serve my community and all communities across Scotland are the best they can be.