Leadership commitments

The safety of people receiving and delivering care is paramount in Scotland's health and care system.

In the context of COVID-19, our health and social care leaders made the following pledges to mark World Patient Safety Day 2020. 

Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, Scottish Government

"I pledge that I will prioritise staff safety in all the pieces of policy and delivery that I am responsible for as we work towards making care safer for everyone in our health and care systems. I hope you'll join me."

Watch Professor Leitch's full statement in the video below:

Read more pledges

Jeanne Freeman, Health Secretary

"My heartfelt thanks and gratitude goes to each and every person working in the NHS and social care services across the country. Your compassion, dedication and skill lead our patient safety work and none of it would be possible without you."


Joe FitzPatrick, Public Health Minister

"NHS Scotland's greatest asset is the people who deliver it. My commitment is to continue to raise awareness of staff health and wellbeing."


Clare Haughey, Mental Health Minister

"This pandemic has shone a light on the exceptional work of the health and social care workforce.

My commitment is to continue to prioritise and raise awareness of the importance of emotional and psychological wellbeing."


Maree Todd, Children and Young People Minister

"My commitment is to continue to promote the principles of getting it right for every child and all families, whilst supporting the workforce that delivers health and social care services."


Robbie Pearson, Chief Executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland

"We already know that evidence-based clinical interventions in wards delivered consistently improve safety, but so does the right leadership, working environment and organisational culture.

Indeed, I would argue the provision of safe care, also fundamentally depends on a safe and supported health and social care workforce."


Ruth Glassborow, Director of Improvement at Healthcare Improvement Scotland

"I pledge that I will prioritise staff safety, including a focus on emotional and mental wellbeing, in all the work I am responsible for.

I hope you'll join me in ensuring all staff in health and care receive the support they need to keep them safe as we continue to work together to make care safer for everyone in our health and care system."


Joanne Matthews, Head of Improvement Support and Safety at Healthcare Improvement Scotland

"Through the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) 2020 Essentials of Safe Care, l commit to prioritising staff wellbeing and safety as part of our work to support safer care for every person within every system every time."


Dr Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer for Scotland

"It has never been more important that we understand how to support the psychological wellbeing of our health and care staff so that they can carry out their very important roles and manage the increasing need for their services and information while dealing with their own personal situations and emotions.

Good organisational leadership and a supportive work culture will have a positive impact on the psychological wellbeing of staff before, during and after the crisis.

My commitment is to send a clear message to other senior leaders that staff wellbeing and support matters."


Dr John Harden, Deputy National Clinical Director

"As a practicing doctor, the safety and wellbeing of my colleagues has always been important to me. We need to ensure we are looking after each other as we provide care for those we are looking after, even more important throughout the current pandemic.

My commitment is to continue to prioritise this as I work with the Scottish Patient Safety Programme in its next phase and to raise awareness in all areas of my work, both clinical and across Scottish Government policy."


Lorraine Gray, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Services Council

"Trusted, skilled and confident workers who know their role and the behaviours, values and standards they must work to are essential to staff being safe and providing safe care.

The SSSC Codes of Practice, qualifications, our practice guidance, person-centred care and leadership work support the social service workforce in their vital role and help keep people using services safe."


Professor Ann Holmes, Chief Midwifery Officer and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer (Children)

"As an essential service, midwives and maternity services have continued to provide safe care to women during the pandemic.

In order to provide safe care, it is important that staff take care of their own health and wellbeing."


Diane Murray, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer

"Throughout this pandemic we have clearly seen that staff are our most important asset. When they are supported and their workload is appropriate their wellbeing is improved and high quality, safe and effective care follows. Our world leading Health and Care Staffing legislation will help us realise this endeavour.

My commitment is to continue the work to fully enact the Health and Care Staffing Act to support the delivery of safe staff safe care."


Angela Currie, Operations Director at Blackwood Homes and Care

"Blackwood is committed to the safety and well-being of our staff as well as our customers. Utilising practical solutions to empower our staff, event outside their work environment is the key to a safer Scotland.

We celebrate and value our teams as they continue to put our customers first in unprecedented times."


Karen Hedge, National Director at Scottish Care

"Our social care workforce has proven more critical this year, than at any other time. We are continually amazed by the dedication and resilience our staff have shown. But when we are spending all of our time focussing on others, it can be easy to forget to look after ourselves. Your safety and wellbeing is critical.

The theme of World Patient Safety Day this year is 'safe staff safe care' so I want to say thank you , and to ask you to get involved. It is time for You." Watch video.


Amanda Langsley, Associate Director OD and Learning at NHS Lothian

"Burnout affects all aspects of the pursuit of safe staff and safe care, it leads to lower levels of staff engagement which correlates with poorer patient experiences and increases the risk of accidents.

I am committed to preventing and reducing burnout in staff using the Insitutite for Healthcare Improvement Joy in Work Framework to continuously improve staff safety and patient safety."


Claire Pearce, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at NHS Tayside

"We are making a pledge to provide patients with safe care but ensuring that we are keeping our staff safe at the same time." Watch video. 


Diana Hekerem, Head of Transformational Redesign Support at Healthcare Improvement Scotland

"I commit to taking a person centred approach in all our work, which recognises the importance of the health and wellbeing of people who need - and people who provide - support in health and social care."


Belinda Robertson, Head of Improvement Support at Healthcare Improvement Scotland

"I commit to continuing to prioritise staff safety so that health and wellbeing remains a key priority and staff know how to look after themselves, their colleagues and people they work with - and where to go for support."