Context for the programme
The Scottish Government's ambition is to consistently deliver high quality care, whenever patients need it.
There is a broad consensus that the delivery of appropriate seven day services will improve patient care and clinical outcomes. It is about responding to the needs of patients and ensuring that the whole system works more cohesively and effectively. It is also ensuring that patients receive the same quality of care irrespective of the day of the week.
The overall context of this work is the Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHSScotland and the 2020 vision for Health and Social Care. In the context of quality this means a recognition that the model for the services provided must reflect the needs of patients and their families, and be delivered at the right time and in the right place for that patient. We need to develop health and social care systems to meet the significant demographic and financial challenges faced by our health and social care services. NHSScotland's approach to this is articulated in the 2020 vision and we note the recent announcement from the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport that she will work with stakeholders to develop a refreshed routemap to 2020 and beyond by summer 2015. In developing a programme to deliver sustainable seven day services, we cannot just focus on hospital care. The complex interdependencies of the healthcare system mean pressures on one part of the system will inevitably impact on another. Designing an overall service that is sustainable is crucial.
In common with all healthcare systems in the developed world, NHSScotland faces a challenge with regard to sustaining a suitably trained workforce over the next 5-10 years. The Taskforce has been asked to identify the optimal service models and consider what is needed to deliver them. We recognise that the NHS Workforce already deliver services across seven days and as the programme develops the workforce implications of it will be considered carefully in partnership with the Scottish Government, NHS Employers and Staffside. This work will link with the vision for the NHS Workforce which is set out in Everyone Matters: 2020 Workforce Vision. The sustainability work stream, which aims to ensure that the right people are available to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time, is particularly relevant. All NHS Boards are working to deliver the commitments in Everyone Matters and this will support the delivery of our aims around sustainability and seven day services.
We recognise the challenges which NHSScotland faces, including an increase in patients, with more complex illnesses, the rising costs of expensive new drugs and the impact of inflation. While we need to make best use of our existing resources, we recognise that there is likely to be a financial impact to this work - both in terms of costs and benefits. As part of the next stage we will require to fully assess options and financial impact.