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Delivering Quality in Primary Care National Action Plan: implementing the Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHSScotland

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2. Background

This action plan has its origins in an intensive period of dialogue with Primary Care practitioners. With the support of NHS Board Chief Executives - and active local input - we have held a series of events around the country, covering urban and rural locations (Hamilton, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Oban/Lerwick and Dingwall). A similar event took place in Glasgow, organised by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. These have been attended by over 700 Primary Care practitioners across Scotland - independent contractors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, allied health professionals ( AHPs), NHS Boards as well as relevant Special NHS Boards and patient and carer representatives and were accompanied by dialogue with representative organisations.

The events gave a platform for facilitated discussion based around the six key dimensions of quality (person-centred, safe, effective, efficient, equitable and timely) and how Primary Care supports particular patient groups. In an environment of tight financial constraints these discussions sought to identify what opportunities and challenges would emerge for Primary Care going forward and what would need to be done to realise and overcome these.

The interactive format allowed for constructive and enthusiastic participation and a breadth of representative feedback. This ensured that the output was a set of concrete national level actions that will help ensure that Primary Care can play to the full its crucial role in delivering the ambitions of the Quality Strategy. Specifically:

  • Mutually beneficial partnerships between patients, their families and those delivering healthcare services which respect individual needs and values and which demonstrate compassion, continuity, clear communication and shared decision-making.
  • There will be no avoidable injury or harm to people from the healthcare they receive, and an appropriate clean and safe environment will be provided for the delivery of healthcare services at all times.
  • The most appropriate treatments, interventions, support and services will be provided at the right time to everyone who will benefit, and wasteful of harmful variation will be eradicated.

Equity and diversity are contained explicitly within each of these Quality Ambitions.