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Evaluating Labour-Management Partnership in NHS Scotland

  • Start date: 04 June 2009
  • End date: 03 June 2011

Modernising the NHS remains high on the government's agenda, and to improve health services employers are encouraged to involve staff and work in partnership with trade unions and professional associations.

NHS Scotland has led the way setting up the first national labour-management partnership in health services in 1998, and developing arguably the most ambitious and comprehensive partnership so far attempted in Britain.

In order to assess the contribution of partnership to modernising health services, this project evaluates the process and outcomes of the path-breaking labour-management partnership in NHS Scotland.

The research purpose is to understand how this partnership operates, analyse the main strategic and organisational challenges, assess how these challenges are addressed, and to identify and explain the main outcomes.

NHS Scotland's partnership approach merits careful assessment because it is the most established national partnership agreement in the NHS, it provides for ambitious levels of staff involvement, it creates important and distinct institutions for modernising health services, and it receives significant political support from the Scottish Government, employers and staff representatives.

Evaluating partnership in NHS Scotland at this time may also provide important lessons for engaging staff to improve health services in Wales and England.