Major challenges lie ahead for the NHS in Scotland. As I reported last year, there are growing pressures on NHS boards which are struggling to juggle service delivery and progress major reform, at the same time as managing considerable financial challenges.
Nearly 160,000 people work in Scotland’s NHS, which provides vital services for millions of us every year. Their hard work and commitment, sometimes in life-or-death circumstances, is always to be admired. However, the NHS faces challenges if the workforce is to meet the growing demands of our ageing population and adapt to new ways of working.
We know that our audit work on health and social care in Scotland has a role to play in the wider debate about what’s needed to transform these services and make them sustainable for the future.
Building on our recent findings, we’ve begun a new two-part audit to evaluate how the Scottish Government and NHS boards are tackling the issues, through workforce planning and national and local initiatives. The first report focuses on overall workforce planning and workforce pressures in hospitals and will be published in summer 2017. The second is due out in 2018/19 and will explore primary care and GP workforce issues.
In advance of our first report, this briefing provides some key information on the shape of the current NHS workforce and sets out some of the issues that we’re delving into during the course of our audit.
About the author
Caroline Gardner is the Auditor General, and Accountable Officer for Audit Scotland. She started her term in July 2012, and has 30 years’ experience in audit, governance and financial management. Follow her on twitter @AuditorGenScot