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The Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHSScotland

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1. Foreword

The ultimate aim of our Quality Strategy is to deliver the highest quality healthcare services to people in Scotland and through this to ensure that NHSScotland is recognised by the people of Scotland as amongst the best in the world. We want to achieve this aim in a way this is recognisable and meaningful to everybody. This is ambitious, but it is achievable and we are well placed to deliver. The aim is set at a high level, but the means to achieving it will be built from the ground up. What will make Scotland a world leader will be the combined effect of millions of individual care encounters that are consistently person-centred, clinically effective and safe, for every person,all the time.

People in Scotland have told us that they need and want the following things from the NHS and we have
built this strategy around these priorities:

  • Caring and compassionate staff and services;
  • Clear communication and explanation about conditions and treatment;
  • Effective collaboration between clinicians, patients and others;
  • A clean and safe care environment;
  • Continuity of care; and
  • Clinical excellence.

We also know that everybody delivering healthcare services in Scotland is motivated above all by the quality of service they provide in partnership with their colleagues, with patients and their families. Delivering compassionate care is at the very heart of clinical values and it is the cornerstone of the mutual NHS that we first described in Better Health, Better Care (2007) .

'...millions of individual care encounters that are consistently person-centred,
clinically effective and safe, for every person, all the time.'

We want the implementation of the Quality Strategy to strengthen confidence and pride in our NHS. We want confidence for patients that their NHS is amongst the best in the world - safe, effective and responsive to their needs, every time and all of the time. We want confidence for people working in and with NHSScotland that they are doing what they came into the NHS to do, are valued and are key in delivering the ambition to make NHSScotland a world leader. We want a shared national pride in our NHS and a recognition that it is the very best it can be.

Implementing the Quality Strategy will build upon the integrated approach to service planning and delivery we have already established across NHSScotland. It will involve a range of actions by individuals, teams, NHS Boards and the Scottish Government. Through taking these actions, we will expect to see measurable improvements in the key indicators of healthcare quality.

'NHSScotland has a long and strong tradition of
providing high quality healthcare.'

Success will mean that, for the first time, people in Scotland will have:

  • the opportunity to comment systematically on their experience of healthcare and its impact on their quality of life;
  • an assurance that NHSScotland services will be further improved in the light of what people tell us about their experiences and outcomes;
  • support to engage in shared decision-making about their care;
  • the whole of the NHS committed to patient safety and, in particular, to avoiding infection and harm, using consistent and reliable improvement methods;
  • personalised care plans for those people with the most complex care needs; and
  • a guarantee that their NHS Board will prioritise quality in its agenda, including the use of a new early warning system.

NHSScotland has a long and strong tradition of providing high quality healthcare to the population. For example, we have a history of excellence in professional education and clinical audit, the use of patient records to improve outcomes, the creation of the SIGN1 guideline system, the development of Managed Clinical Networks, the introduction of statutory systems of clinical governance and risk management and the world's first national Patient Safety Programme.

'The Quality Strategy provides the basis for us
all to focus our combined efforts on what is required.'

We are all aware of the challenges in delivering reliable and responsive high quality healthcare, and in improving people's health. These include increased public expectations, changes in lifestyles, demographic change, an ageing population, new opportunities from developments in technology and information, and the current economic climate which brings with it significant financial constraints. The Quality Strategy provides the basis for us all to focus our combined efforts on what is required to address these current and future challenges, and to ensure high quality healthcare for ourselves and for generations to come.

By establishing a shared understanding of quality, and a commitment to place it at the heart of everything we do, the Quality Strategy represents a unique and important opportunity for all of us to work together to our mutual benefit to make our NHS even better, for everyone, now and into the future.