Student travel/car sharing arrangements

The Rapid Action Placement Oversight Group (RAPOG) have had a number of queries relating to students and travel/car sharing arrangements while on practice placement experiences.

A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been developed which cover various aspects relating to supporting, supervising and assessing students in practice, with specific questions addressing travel/car sharing (see questions 14, 15 & 16).

Question 16 specifically answers the common query about healthcare staff who are commuting with students as part their learning experience.

The FAQs can be accessed at:

Flexible Workforce Development Fund – Open University

The Open University in Scotland

 Supporting Small to Medium-sized Enterprises

Many of Scotland’s small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to upskill or reskill their workforce – now more so than ever before, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Open University’s Business Barometer 2020 report shows that 60% of employers in Scotland continue to struggle to find the skills needed to fill vacant roles.  Some report taking more than 26 months to fill vacancies.

Many have opted to recruit temporary staff.  A very costly, short-term approach, Scottish employers spent £460 million plugging short term skills gaps in 2020.  That’s a 60% increase on the previous year.

“This short-term approach is not just costly, it is also unsustainable, particularly for SMEs,” explains Suzanne McQuade, Business Relationships Manager at The Open University in Scotland.

As Scotland’s largest provider of part-time higher education, with over 50 years’ experience of providing innovative distance learning, The Open University (OU) is uniquely equipped to support SMEs to upskill and reskill their workforce.

The Scottish Government recently announced a new phase of funding to enable SMEs (organisations with less than 250 employees) across Scotland to access training up to the value of £5,000 to support workforce development, to position them to respond to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, to adapt to new ways of working and maximise the opportunities to restart, recover and renew.

A £1 million grant has been awarded to The OU in Scotland as part of the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund 2020-21: Phase 2.

SMEs can choose from a tailored suite of training for their employees, delivered online through the OU’s innovative learning platforms. It is a highly flexible way to access the training organisations need – in the workplace or from home – whilst accommodating operational requirements and optimising business efficiency.

Training options available from The OU focus on Scotland’s national skills priorities:

  • Health & social care
  • Leadership & business
  • Digital & IT
  • Green economy

With a range of selected courses at Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 10 – undergraduate – or SCQF Level 11 – postgraduate – or through industry recognised provision, options include OU short courses, microcredentials and modules.

 Short courses allow you to explore a subject without the time commitment, to help you build a new skillset and offer continued professional development in your career.  Individuals can choose from a range of short courses, including in-demand and transferable professional skills such as project management and finance.

For example, care workers could consider the OU’s very popular management-related short courses, to support aspirations to move into a more senior role, such as the New managers’ toolkit, Developing better teams or Developing your leadership style.  A short course in Improving diabetes management is also available.

Home Managers, deputy care managers or nurses seeking post-registration professional development may wish to consider a microcredential such as Management of uncertainty: leadership, decisions and action.  But what is a microcredential and how could one benefit you?  With a microcredential you can rapidly learn new skills and techniques that you can immediately apply and take back to your workplace.

Microcredentials are university level online programmes that are sector endorsed and designed to help you build professional skills.  They take an average of 10-12 weeks of online study to complete which equates to only 9-12 hours of learning per week.  At the end, you gain academic credit to help you advance your career as a standalone credential and the flexibility to use it towards another qualification later down the line.

Additionally, a selected range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules are available including Managing in a changing world and Making strategy with systems thinking in practice, which offer individuals the opportunity to develop higher level leadership & business and digital & IT skills.

To find out more about how The Open University in Scotland can help your SME to develop a future proof workforce through the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund, please visit

Covid-19 Testing Support Service Helpline

An additional helpline has provided as part of the National Contact Tracing Service to support the infrastructure of Covid-19 testing for the social care sector. This helpline is free for the care home and care at home sectors.

This helpline helps with the management of SARS-CoV-2 (and it’s variants), infection prevention and detection. Incident management in care homes and Care at Home sectors is a Government healthcare priority in order to protect vulnerable individuals, residents, staff, visiting professionals, visitors and the like. The sectors need enduring Covid-19 testing support to mitigate infection risks and in so doing realise national healthcare and societal benefits.

The helpline services will open 08:00 on 01/02/2021.

Members of the care home and care at home sectors may contact the helpline using the phone and/or e-mail

Tel:  0800 008 6587 available 08:00 to 20:00 every day

E-mail: Service not currently live. This is in progress and further communication will be issued once available 


Self Isolation & Support and Flu Vaccination Videos

NHS Lothian has created videos on Understanding Self Isolation and Support and Flu Vaccination in English, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin,  Urdu, Punjabi, Polish, Kurdish and BSL that may be useful to members and their staff members.

Please see below for the relevant links for these videos. 

Understanding Self Isolation and Support Video

Arabic –

Urdu –

Cantonese –

Bengali –

Mandarin –

Polish –

Kurdish –

English –


Flu Vaccination Video


Password: NHS















Polish (GP)






Digital assets and information on wellbeing support available for staff

Please see below for letter from Ray de Souza (National Adviser, Workforce Wellbeing Leadership, Culture and Wellbeing, Health Workforce Directorate, Scottish Government) with new posters promoting the national wellbeing support provision, notably the National Wellbeing Hub and the National Helpline, for all Health and Social Care staff. 


Chief Executives, NHS Boards
Chief Officers, Health and Social Care Partnerships
Heads / Directors of Communication, NHS Boards
For information:
Primary Care Leads
Community Pharmacy Scotland
Dear Chief Executives and Chief Officers
Please find attached digital assets for new posters promoting the national wellbeing support provision, notably the National Wellbeing Hub and the National Helpline, for all Health and Social Services / Social Care staff. 
It is important that this material is distributed and displayed across all health and social care setting as soon as possible.   
I would appreciate your cooperation in ensuring that the posters are printed (in A2 size – the optimum, or at least in A3) and distributed without delay to all services and departments within your organisations, and that they are displayed prominently in all staff areas. The aim of the posters is to inform staff, whatever their role and wherever they work, of the support that is available to them at a national level, over and above that which is provided locally by their organisation.    
NHS Board’s Heads / Directors of Communication have expressed a preference to receive this material in digital format and to distribute it in line with usual arrangements. It is expected that Health and Social Care Partnerships will do the same. However, whatever the distribution process, please ensure that hard copies of the posters are printed and sent to all primary care services (GP Practices, Community Pharmacies, Dental and Optometry practices) as feedback suggests that not all have appropriate printing facilities. 
Alternatively I have indicated to the Heads/Directors Communications that Scottish Government would be prepared to produce and distribute appropriately packaged printed copies (A2 and A3 sizes) of the posters directly to all health and social care services if that would be preferable. If you wish to take up this option, please submit the following information by email to Scot Hall [email protected] by 17.00 hrs on 29 February:
  • The number of posters / poster versions required for each location, and
  • The name and postal addressed of each of the services /practices to whom they should be delivered.  
The posters have been produced with various images to provide options and/or appeal to staff in various settings. There are also a couple of ‘empty belly’ posters so that your organisation can insert information on local wellbeing services if you so choose.
Our primary objective through this and related promotional initiatives is to work with you and your Wellbeing Champion to ensure that staff are aware of the support available and to proactively encourage them to access it at an early stage. 
Thank you, once again, for your ongoing cooperation. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I or my colleagues can assist further.
Kind regards,

Covid-19 Vaccine Campaign – Scotland It’s Time To Roll Up Our Sleeves

As the Astra Zeneca vaccine is getting rolled out across the UK, Public Health Scotland has updated versions of their leaflets to reflect changes are now available in toolkits:

NHS Inform was also updated on 1/1/20:

The Covid vaccine phoneline is also up to date on these changes – 0800 030 8013 – open 8am-8pm 7 days a week.

The Vaccines campaign assets are also available via dropbox  here.  The campaign was launched earlier today encouraging us all to roll our sleeves when we are offered the COVID-19 vaccine.


Open webinar on Covid-19 Vaccination – 26 Jan

Scottish Care is hosting an open webinar with Prof Jason Leitch and Dr Syed Ahmed from the Scottish Government. This session will focus on Covid-19 vaccination and will take place on Tuesday 26 January at 3PM.

This webinar session is open to providers and frontline staff. Please share this information with colleagues and staff as it is a great opportunity to ask Prof Leitch or Dr Ahmed any questions or raise any concerns about the vaccine.

If you are interested in attending this webinar, please register by clicking the link below. Once your registration is approved, you will receive an email with Zoom details to join.

Registration link:

As the Covid-19 vaccination webinar is scheduled on the same day as our weekly Covid-19 surgeries, we have decided to bring the surgery forward to Monday 25 January at 2PM. This will be an in-house session with Dr Donald Macaskill and our Workforce Lead, Caroline Deane.

Details to join this session will be available on the Members Area of our website.

NMC Letter on re-introduction of emergency standard for students

Please find below a letter from Professor Geraldine Walters, CBE, Director of Professional Practice outlining the re-introduction of the emergency standard which allows students to be supervised and assessed by the same person during this period. Adoption of this standard is optional.

However Scotland will not be using students to support workforce at this time unlike other parts of the UK. The NMC have released two statements  which you may be aware of – see

You will note that within one of the statements the following ‘While these emergency standards will facilitate students to support the workforce as outlined above, the decision as to whether students will be used in this way rests with AEIs, and senior health and care leaders in the four countries of the UK.’ Just to be clear in Scotland student supernumerary status is being maintained for all students and there are currently no plans for 3rd year students to support the workforce in the way outlined in the emergency standards, nor to make any changes to the balance of theory/practice for 1st years.

Update Letter to AEIs 13 January 2021