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Case Study 1.


The case
The East Scotland National Hospital is sited in Edinburgh. It is an NHS Special Health Board treating patients from all over the east and north-east of Scotland, dealing with acute cases including major surgical procedures. A key remit of the hospital is to reduce patient waiting times. More than 22,000 procedures were carried out last year. It is estimated that the number of procedures will increase by 11 per cent next year and 5 per cent in each of the two succeeding years. Thereafter, the increase is likely to follow the population growth in the region, estimated at an average of 2 per cent a year for the next seven years. There are 630 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff in post including 220 qualified nurses and 33 unqualified nursing assistants. To cover planned and unplanned shortfalls, increasing use is being made of bank nurses (NHS employees contracted to work when required) and less use is being made of more expensive agency nurses. The policy is to phase the latter out completely and reduce dependence on bank nurses by better workforce planning. A major new development has been planned the creation of a new cardiac unit that will involve closing down three cardiac units in other hospitals in the region and transferring their staff, which will include 120 qualified nurses (assuming they all wish to move). It was noted that sickness rates for nursing staff were relatively low last year they were 7.2 per cent (in the previous two years they had increased from 6.0 per cent to 6.4 per cent). The annual turnover rate for nurses has been fairly steady for the last three years at around 6 per cent. It has been stated in the National Scottish Workforce Plan that the supply of qualified nurses is generally good but that there may be difficulties in recruiting specialized nurses, particularly in cardiac and theatre work. The hospital has been required to produce its own workforce plan by the Scottish NHS authority. The first task was to produce a workforce plan for nurses. Audit Scotland

Workforce Planning at the East Scotland National Hospital

had issued national rules on building additional time into nurse staffing requirements to cover annual leave, sickness absence, study leave, maternity leave and protected time. It was recommended that this predictable absence time should be a minimum of 21 per cent to avoid putting too much pressure on existing staff and to avoid higher costs if overtime or the use of temporary staff were increased. The Senior HR Adviser has been asked to produce guidelines on what should be covered in the workforce plan for nurses.

The task
As the Senior HR Adviser, what proposals would you make on the considerations to be taken into account by a planning development group in preparing the workforce plan for nurses?

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