Creating a healthier Scotland- get involved!


From August 2015 to April 2016 we will be holding a national conversation on health and health and social care services in Scotland.

The first part of this will look at what issues really matter to you. To help get the conversation started we have developed 3 broad questions.

• What support do we need in Scotland to live healthier lives?

• What areas of health and social care matter most to you?

• Thinking about the future of health and social care services, where should our focus be?

You can tell us what you think by post and email, or by joining the discussion on this blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

Where we are now

Looking after people in a safe, caring and respectful ways remain the core purpose of health and social care services in Scotland. People are becoming more and more involved in decisions about their own care and the benefits of being healthy, above and beyond the advantages of avoiding being ill, are well known. We feel better about ourselves and are more likely to live more fulfilling lives if we are healthy and we know that the foundations of our lifetime’s health and wellbeing are built in the earliest years, from pre-conception through pregnancy and into our children’s infancy.

Integrating health and social care is transforming the way services are provided and driving real change to improve people’s lives. New treatments are helping us manage previously life threatening conditions and we are working in smarter ways to improve care and support and to speed recovery from ill health. New and more readily accessible technologies have made it possible for people to better manage their health and wellbeing and more people than ever before are receiving treatment for and recovering from mental health conditions. However, the Scottish population is living longer, with more complex and often multiple long-term health conditions and our lifestyles have changed. Smoking, alcohol use, inactivity and obesity mean that health conditions such as cardio-vascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers are common.

As demand increases and expectations rise, those providing support and services are under pressure. And with people living in the least deprived areas living over 20 years longer than those living in deprived areas we know there is more to be done.

Where do we need to be?

We are very proud of the fact that our NHS and social care services are available to everyone in Scotland and it’s important to us that this doesn’t change. However, Scotland has changed a lot since our NHS was first created in 1948. Since then, we’ve continued to improve how services are offered to meet the ever changing needs of the country, but now, in the 21st century, we must focus yet again on what is needed to ensure we are able to support people to live well in their communities.

This is why now is the right time to have the conversation about how services should change to meet our needs and how we can all live healthier lives in order to meet the demand and challenges ahead. It’s important to have the conversation with everyone in Scotland and it’s important that we make sure that all voices are heard.

This national conversation will help to shape the improvements we make now and over the next 10- 15 years. That is why it’s important for everyone in Scotland to have their say.

What we need from you

We want to explore what these services should look like 10-15 years from now. We want to discuss how people in Scotland can be supported to be as healthy as they can be and that means all of us as individuals and also our families and communities.

We want to know what often stops people from eating healthily, exercising, giving up smoking and drinking too much. Regardless of how healthy we generally are, we all need health care treatment sometimes. We want to talk about how it can be more easily accessed, whether in hospital, in our communities or at home so that we are shaping the services we receive 10-15 years from now. In addition, if we need social care, how can we access it to meet our needs, recognising that those needs can change over time?

We also want to discuss how a greater range of services can be provided for people in local centres and what those services should look like, as well as how some specialist care could be best delivered in centres of expertise.

So let’s get started!

Published by

Healthier Scotland

The Scottish Government is inviting you to have your say on what a healthier Scotland should look like in the next 10 to 15 years.

9 thoughts on “Creating a healthier Scotland- get involved!”

  1. good to know that the Health Minister will listen to members of the public in relaion to health matters. Please make bowel cancer screening for all ages not just over 50’s. Our daughter Laura died bowel cancer diagnosed too late, when she presented with symptoms gp told her “its not as if you have bowel cancer or anything serious wrong with you, you are too young”! If only she had been listened to and sent for corrects diagnostic tests Lura would be with us today. it is happening to far too many other younger people since Laura died age 31 only married ro her childhood sweetheart Alan for 29 days, 51 other young people I know on social media alone just twitter have also passed away so I urge Shona to have the tests available for all ages not just over 50’s. Well done in all aspects of health care that Shona is trying to improve. At least she is willing to listen to the public who only voice their concerns when they or someone they love is going through health issues. a step in the right direction by the Scottish Health Secretary. Please do this in Laura’s memory Ms Robison its all we can do in our daughters memory to try to stop this happening to other young people, its what Laura would expect us to do, help others. No family should have to endure what we have been through losing our precious young daughter. Laura wanted to be a Mum, she would have been a wonderful Mother. she didn’t get that chance.


    1. Thank you for taking the time to share information about the tragic circumstances of your daughter Laura’s death. It is important that our health and social care system learns from difficult personal experiences like yours and makes any necessary changes so that everyone receives a safe, effective and person-centred service. The specific points you have raised will therefore be fully taken into account as part of the national conversation, respecting Laura’s memory and the manner of her death. While it would not be right to have an open discussion of the details of your and Laura’s experiences on this public forum, if you would like to do that privately I would be pleased to hear from you. I can be contacted at

      Professor Craig White Divisional Clinical Director, Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates.


  2. Breastfeeding is vital to ensuring a healthy nation and reducing costs to the NHS. Money into health visiting, midwifery, breastfeeding support and specialist infant feeding areas could benefit. Adopting the WHO code in it’s intirety (international code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes) and thus banning all formula milk advertising.
    I also feel funding into speech and language therapy services and early intervention programmes would be beneficial.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think genetic and allergy testing is important and a simple blood test for newborns should help to establish if they have allergies and need special milk or diet to flourish,avoid asthma and eczema from lactose or other allergens. Desensitising programmes also important. Given this affects at least 5 percent of our population,people like genetics expert Professor Steve Jones should be employed to draw up a programme for Scotland,to give us a healthier population and prevent high costs to NHS from treating damaged guts etc from allergy problems.
      Also vital is primary care.My GPs surgery is one of those under NHS special measures through lack of doctors.Despite this it still takes over 2 weeks for an appointment and there is a disconnect and lack of follow- up apparent.All bad news for people needing proper primary care to avoid A&E.
      UK has one of worst asthma care records in Europe according to Royal College of Physicians. We really need a total review of asthma services and treatment to see how it is done better elsewhere.
      People who fail to keep medical appointments should be fined or taxed. There remains huge losses to the medical services from no-shows.


  3. No-Shows
    Agree completely. I had minor surgery a year or two ago and of the three operations scheduled for the afternoon, mine was the only one to go ahead. The other two patients did not turn up. Total waste of NHS resources. This problem can be tackled now, separate from the main review.


  4. 1. Vitamin D on prescription (it’s cheap) could improve health.

    Evidence for the new understanding of vitamin D sufficiency and Scotland’s widespread lack exists. Some of this evidence is summarized on

    2. Invest in creating safe cycle path/ walkways everywhere. Reverse the hierarchy on the roads in towns: Make the top walking, below that cycling, below that cars. Other countries have managed that.

    Helga Rhein, GP in Edinburgh


  5. All sensible aspirations of SG are compromised by gross lack of diagnostic capacity. Scotland has half number of staff to provide safe quality service now compared to other developed countries like France or Denmark. Remote and rural areas are the first to fail due to one size fits all recruitment policy. Can Boards be relied upon to deliver when slavishly looking to please senior civil servants?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think we do need more community based services such as multidisciplinary teams who target rehabilitation to patients within their own homes, thereby preventing or delaying a hospital admission. It is more cost effective to maintain a person at home rather than admit them to hospital.
    Communication is another area which needs addressed. The public/professionals need to know what is available and how to access the service.
    It is not satisfactory to have to wait up to 6 months for a community physiotherapy appointment.


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