THE Scottish Government has published its Health and Social Care Delivery Plan, which, its says, will up the pace of improvement and change within Scotland’s health and care system.
It sets out a series of key actions for government and local health and care services to deliver better patient care and better population health, and is designed to help address the rising demand faced by health and care services, and the changing needs of an ageing population.
The four major programmes of activity, include:
- Health and social care integration: reducing inappropriate use of hospital services; shifting resources to the community; and supporting the capacity of community care.
- The National Clinical Strategy: building capacity in primary and community care; supporting new models of care; reducing unscheduled care; improving scheduled care; improving outpatient services; and strengthening relationships between professionals and individuals.
- Public health improvement: national priorities; key public health issues; mental health; and a more active Scotland.
- NHS board reform: reviewing the function of existing boards; ensuring boards expand the ‘one for Scotland’ approach; and looking at leadership and talent management in NHS Scotland.
The document confirms that the government is aiming to continue the investment in recruitment and expansion of the primary care workforce, so that by 2022 there will be more GPs, and every GP practice will have access to a “pharmacist with advanced clinical skills”.
In addition there is a commitment to giving everyone in Scotland online access to a summary of their Electronic Patient Record. A new digital health and social care strategy is expected to be published in 2017 to support “a digitally-active population, a digitally-enabled workforce, health and social care integration, whole-system intelligence and sustainable care delivery”.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Over the nearly 70 years of our NHS, it has had to continually evolve with our society – and it must continue to do so.
“We have a wonderful challenge that, as a nation, our people are living longer lives than at any point in our history. That means our health and care services must change to aid increasingly more people living with multiple, complex conditions.
“Similarly, medical advances mean there are a vast number of treatment options that just weren’t available even a decade ago – with medicine becoming increasingly more specialised.
“The plan I am setting out today puts actions and timescales to an already established direction of travel which we know has the broad support of healthcare professionals, charities and patient groups.
“It recognises that we must up the pace of change if we’re to deliver modern, sustainable health services and that local health boards and integration partnerships have an important role to play in taking this forward over the next year and beyond.
“Delivery of the plan will be supported by record levels of investment in our health and care services – with extra resources for the NHS and for social care – plus dedicated funding of over £125 million in the coming year to help deliver change on the ground.
“It will also mean a shift in how we allocate these resources – with substantially more money going to our community health service in the coming years.
“We want more services and more care delivered closer to home. And when someone does require specialist care in hospital we want it to be delivered in a centre of real expertise that is underpinned by our unswerving commitment to patient safety.
“And while delivering these changes will require reforms to how boards work, and work with each other in partnership across disciplines and boundaries, we do not currently envisage our patient-facing boards being reduced in number. Instead we see our 14 territorial health boards, and NHS 24 and the Scottish Ambulance Service, focusing on delivering better care and better health for local communities, and planning together for the most specialist care.”