Future Vision for Health and Social Care

We know that we need to change and improve how we deliver care if we are to have an NHS and social care sector able to support the health needs of this generation – and generations to come.

It is vital that our health and care services evolve as the population of Scotland evolves and that we continue to meet the needs of the people of Scotland.

This is why Health Secretary Shona Robison recently launched the National Clinical Strategy which will serve as the blueprint for health and social care over the next 15 years.

Developed by senior clinicians, the strategy outlines plans to deliver a range of improvements and reforms to modernise the way care is provided.

It reflects some of the initial findings from the Healthier Scotland conversation, including having a greater focus on person-centred, joined up care and easier access to local services and has been shaped by the views of patients and clinicians who have contributed to the conversation.

Similar to Healthier Scotland conversations, this long-term plan takes into account Scotland’s ageing population, the shift to more teams working across all types and disciplines of care and rapid advances in research and technology.

The National Clinical Strategy outlines:

  • The need to provide more care where people need it, with as much care as possible delivered locally
  • The transformational change taking place within primary care, which will be delivered by multi-disciplinary teams with strong links with local authority social services
  • That to give patients the best possible outcomes, complex treatments may be delivered in specialist centres, with follow up treatment available locally
  • The importance of supporting patients to fully understand and manage their health needs, with a focus on rehabilitation and independence

The foundation of this strategy is to provide care as locally as possible, with a whole-team, community-based care approach. This will mean that people continue to be treated close to home, or even in their home, in the majority of cases.

When it comes to needing hospital care, we want the best results for patients. Evidence shows that people who need specialist treatment often get better outcomes by receiving it from teams doing complex operations more frequently.

The strategy also outlines proposals to support smaller and rural hospitals to deliver for their communities, this includes having clinicians working across more than one hospital to allow specialist input to be delivered to remote and rural locations. There are good examples of this happening already and we need to build on these successes to ensure equity of access to expert care for all patients.

Our health and social care system is going through a period of change and this strategy will guide how services advance to meet the needs of an ageing population and provide care which is responsive to the needs of the people of Scotland.

The task now is to work with all stakeholders, local clinicians and decision makers – and most importantly of all, patients and the public – to deliver the improvements we all want to see.

You can find the full strategy here: A National Clinical Strategy for Scotland (.PDF, 1.10 MB)