THE Scottish Government is to review NHS targets, Health Secretary Shona Robison has announced.
An expert group will be set up to lead the review and work with staff, stakeholders, social care and clinical bodies, to examine a range of national targets to ensure they continue to deliver better outcomes for patients and make best use of NHS resources.
The review will also look at how target setting aligns with the Government’s strategy for the future direction of NHS and social care services.
“This Government has a strong track record of delivering faster, safer and more effective care. Targets have played a vital role in these achievements and have driven many significant improvements in the NHS, such as lower waiting times and safer patient environments.
“Let me be clear that I believe targets have an important place in our NHS and there are certain standards, such as the four-hour A&E target, which patients have the right to expect.
“In many areas, Scotland leads the way in terms of the performance and quality of our health and care services and I am determined to protect that reputation.
“But as we enter a new parliamentary term, the time is now right to take stock of what we are asking from the NHS to ensure our approach is consistent with our focus on improving the outcomes for patients and shifting the delivery of care from hospitals to the community.
“Working with our partners across the health and social care landscape will be vital to this process and I look forward to working with them over the course of the year,” said Ms Robison.
Jill Vickerman, National Director of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland, said: “In the run up to the Scottish Parliament elections BMA Scotland called on all political parties to agree on the need to review the approach to targets in NHS Scotland. Doctors are frustrated that the focus on political priorities it creates can overshadow clinical advice and decision-making.
“We therefore welcome the Scottish Government’s announcement that it will set up a review of NHS Scotland’s current target system and advise that such a review should focus on how measurement and public reporting of health service activity can drive the most effective use of resources, and ensure that the clinical needs of patients are prioritised according to those who have the most urgent medical needs.
“We look forward to the opportunity to feed into the review in order to secure the best outcomes for patients in Scotland.”
Theresa Fyffe, Director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland, said: “The RCN is committed to working with all stakeholders, including the public, to agree a new approach to measuring success in health and wellbeing. The RCN has led the way on looking at targets in Scotland and on Wednesday will publish its latest report on targets, informed by its conversations with partners across all health and wellbeing sectors in Scotland over the last year.
“The RCN will work with the Scottish Government, all political parties, professionals and the public to try to agree an outcomes-based approach to measuring success in health and wellbeing which will benefit individuals who need to use services.”