Our Workforce

NHS staff support, treat and care for many thousands of people every day. It is their knowledge and skill that makes the NHS what it is today.

Scotland has a well-trained, committed and motivated workforce that is delivering high quality care for patients. Ensuring that staff are valued and supported is crucially important in supporting good patient care.

That is why considerable work has taken place over the last ten years in building a new model of partnership working with staff. It has resulted in Scotland becoming one of the only countries in the world to enshrine its relationship with NHS staff in legislation.

The NHS Reform (Scotland) Act of 2004 requires NHSScotland employers to ensure the fair and effective management of staff.

NHSScotland recognises the importance of staff governance as a feature of high performance which ensures that all staff have a positive employment experience. Standards have been agreed and set down for NHS organisations which state that staff should be:

  • Well informed
  • Appropriately trained
  • Included in decisions that affect them
  • Treated fairly and consistently
  • Provided with a safe and improved working environment

Another key element in the new structure is the Scottish Partnership Forum and its sub groups made up of representatives from the health department, NHS employers and trade unions. This allows discussion and debate to take place on the way services are planned and managed.

Similar partnerships have been set up at a local level by NHS Boards. National guidelines have also been developed on specific employment issues to help ensure that staff are treated in the same way whether they are in Shetland or Stranraer.

Although partnership working exists across Britain and elsewhere in the Scottish public sector, it has developed further in NHSScotland than elsewhere since devolution in 2001. A study by Nottingham University describes partnership working in NHSScotland as 'the most ambitious and important contemporary innovation in British public sector industrial relations'.

To ensure our health service has the workforce needed for the future we have developed a 2020 Workforce Vision. This Vision has been produced with the help of around 10,000 staff and sets out what the workforce needs to look like by 2020, the things that need to change and the support that staff will be given. 

Everyone Matters: 2020 Workforce Vision also highlights the importance of working to a shared set of values in the work that we do. The values that we share across NHSScotland are: care and compassion, dignity and respect, openness, honesty and responsibility, and quality and teamwork.

Careers in NHSScotland

There are many different careers in NHSScotland. Every day the lives of patients are transformed thanks to the skill and dedication of NHSScotland staff.

It takes a lot more than doctors and nurses to keep the NHS going. As Scotland's largest employer, whatever your skill levels, qualifications or ambitions, there’s a worthwhile and rewarding career option for you.

More details can be found on the NHSScotland vacancy website.

Healthier Scotland