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?
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!