Creating a Healthier Scotland Conversation


Our final guest blog is by Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, who today (March 17) launched the key findings from the Healthier Scotland Conversation at an event in Edinburgh.

Report Graphic.pngToday I was privileged to launch our Creating a Healthier Scotland – What Matters To You report, which pulls together the key findings from our extensive six month Conversation with people across Scotland about their views on the future of NHS and social care services as well as improving the health of the population.

The engagement we’ve had to date has been fantastic – with thousands taking part in events the length and breadth of the country and thousands more giving their feedback through social media, email, surveys and competitions.

I launched the Conversation back in August to invite people across the country to have their say on what a Healthier Scotland should look like.

This was about engaging honestly with the public about the health and social care challenges and choices we face as a country – not just today, but in the years ahead. Most importantly I wanted people to be involved in, and to have influence on, the decisions that affect their lives.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm to take part in the Conversation. We’ve heard from people from all corners of Scotland and from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Thanks to the tremendous support and involvement of our partners in the NHS, local authorities and the third sector, we’ve involved over 9,000 people in 240 events during the last six months. On top of this, our Twitter, Facebook and blog activity has reached over 360,000 people – with lots of feedback received through these sites.

I’ve been impressed by the variety of ways that have been used to gather and encourage responses, and to make the Conversation an inspiring and open process.  From conversation cafes to creative competitions, and investigation teams to national surveys.  We’ve received feedback through the form of pictures, poems, and posts, and music, videos and blogs – as well as simply talking and writing about your views and concerns.

It has given us a crucial insight into the views and priorities of the people of Scotland.  We’ve heard lots of thoughtful and heart-felt opinions and ideas, which we’ve now summarised in this report.

While there were a variety of views shared, the most common issues raised were about:

  1. The need for a greater focus on preventing illness – through education and support to help us make healthy lifestyle choices;Report Graphic 2
  2. The importance of mental health and wellbeing – and the role of connected communities and good support networks as part of that;
  3. The themes of person-centred care, support to self-manage health and the importance of a holistic approach;
  4. Increased awareness of the full range of social care services and how it benefits different people, along with recognising and valuing the important role of unpaid carers;
  5. The need for more accessible and flexible services, better partnership working and joined up care, and an easier way of signposting people to what’s available;
  6. Recognition of the challenges ahead and the need to set clear priorities for the future.

More detail can be found in the summary report below.  If you would like a hard copy of the report please contact us using the ‘contact us’ tab on the left hand side. I would encourage everyone to read the report and share it as widely as they can.

It is important that everyone who contributed to the Conversation now receives feedback on how their views will be considered.  The next steps section in the report highlights how the findings are already making a difference. For example, to shape several future planning documents – including the Out of Hours Primary Care Review, the Public Health Review and the National Clinical Strategy.

But this is just the beginning of how we plan to use the findings of the conversation. This feedback will be crucial as we go on planning the future direction of health and social care services and turn the strategies we have published into a reality. Throughout this it will be very important for the public to continue to be involved.  That is why we have developed Our Voice – a framework to allow everyone to make their voice heard on local and national health and care services.

This will provide a platform to build on the Conversation and take forward the spirit of this initiative which has captured the imagination of people right across Scotland.

Report Graphic 3Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this truly national Conversation. None of this would have been possible without you and we greatly appreciate the time you’ve taken to support and contribute to the process over the last six months.


As well as hearing from the Cabinet Secretary, some of our partners, who supported the Conversation, told us about their involvement in the process:

Elspeth Molony, Communications and Engagement Lead, NHS Health Scotland told us: “NHS Health Scotland is delighted to have been a strategic partner in the Creating a Healthier Scotland national conversation. The report being published today shows that there is a good understanding amongst the Scottish public of the wide variety of factors that influence our health.  Everything from the communities in which we live to the work we do. We look forward to continuing to work with our Scottish Government colleagues as actions are developed to make real the fairer, healthier Scotland in which we all want to live.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive, Young Scot, said: “Young people have shown us time and time again how incredibly passionate they are about improving the lives of people in communities across Scotland and how keen they are to positively address health and social inequalities. We are delighted that the young people were able to share their insight, expertise and experience in this conversation surrounding health and social care and are helping to shape what a healthier Scotland should look like within the next 15 years.”

Ian Welsh, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (ALLIANCE), explained: “The ALLIANCE met with more than 1,500 people across Scotland to make sure their voice was heard as part of this crucial conversation. The overwhelming feeling is that Scotland is ready for change – led by people who use support and services themselves.

Throughout 35 events, a national conference and creative competition we were told that this change must be underpinned by a supportive health and social care system, aiming to enable self management and prevention to make sure people are able to enjoy their right to live well.”

You can also find the summary report below:

3 thoughts on “Creating a Healthier Scotland Conversation”

  1. Hi for five months now I have been on and off not well I got admitted to hospital in December with symptoms that included numbness and pins needles in legs and down right arm, weight loss, fatigue , sickness or feeling sick. It calmed down after spending week in hospital on drips getting my body weight back on. Since then my legs and pins needles numbness have not went away after dancing on a night out I struggle for days with my legs sleeping that hurt at times I feel for my age this can’t be normal I’m 29. I left my work as I was standing on my feet 9 hours a day and my health deteriated after December my health has got better but the legs aren’t any idea what can be wrong or happening with me thankyou


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