NHS Lothian: ‘we don’t have the staff to cope with Named Person scheme’

One of Scotland’s biggest health boards, NHS Lothian, is facing serious staff shortages and admits it is unlikely to be able to meet the extra demands of the Named Person scheme when it is rolled out later this year.

Nursing leaders have raised “significant concerns” warning that “health visitors – who will be the named person for children under five – are already under serious pressure”.

It is reported that the health board is unlikely to have enough staff until at least 2018/19 because of an existing 19 per cent vacancy rate, which increases to 44 per cent in Midlothian, according to recent board papers.

Chief executive Tim Davison told a board meeting last month: “If we simply can’t get enough health visitors then we may have to look at how the service might look like in future, where people from other places might assist with child health.”

Royal College of Nursing Scotland associate director Norman Provan, commented: “NHS Lothian is experiencing great difficulties recruiting enough now, let alone the additional health visitors they will need to implement the named person role and the recently introduced new health visitor pathway.”

Mr Provan added: “What the board cannot and must not do is ask the current workforce to take on more to meet the requirements of the named person legislation without sufficient resources to do this safely.”

NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert, said: “NHS Lothian say it will be impossible to meet the massive demands of the new scheme for two or three years at the earliest without pulling health visitors from other areas which, presumably, will be just as overstretched.

“No-one doubts the good intentions of the government, or of health visitors, but the Named Person scheme is a bureaucratic, data-harvesting nightmare which will go badly wrong.”