Guest post by Jason Leitch , National Clinical Director, Scottish Government
At about the time you’re reading this, many Scots will be on their way to catch some summer sun, listening to the pilot saying “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.”
You probably know the deal – once we get into that airport, we all become “a passenger”. We fasten our seatbelts when the light comes on, we drink our warm orange juice when the drinks trolley gets to our row, and the route we take to our destination is decided by air traffic control and the pilot.
It strikes me that in the past, government has designed and run the health & social care system somewhat like an airline company. Decision-makers have looked at advice and evidence, to agree the best, safest and most effective way to deliver healthcare to the people of Scotland. Meanwhile, patients, carers and families have taken the roles of airline passengers – once they’ve entered the airport, they don’t have much opportunity for participating in the design of the journey.
But this is set to change. Since last year’s referendum, there has been a groundswell in people’s desire to be part of designing Scotland’s future, and for that future to be shaped not only by politicians and civil servants, but by us all.
We at Scottish Government are asking you to work with us to design the future of Scotland’s health and social care. We need your help to make sure we understand what matters most. Which areas should we be focussing on? What support do you need to make healthier choices, to lead a healthier life?
The health service has been constantly changing – it looks very different from how it did in 1948. Examples of diseases that used to be untreatable are now curable. The eradication of many childhood leukaemias was unthinkable decades ago. We have seen a 40% reduction in stroke mortality in the last 15 years. But the increased numbers of elderly citizens and people with multiple chronic diseases means that the health & social care system has to continue to evolve.
But what should that evolution look like? What sort of health and social care system would you like for your children and your grandchildren?
Now is the right time to have a conversation – the right time to look differently at our health and social care services. How we, as citizens of Scotland, can ensure that our cherished health and social care system takes us into the future.