The Better Health, Better Care Action Plan set out a new vision for the NHS in Scotland, describing a new ethos for health in Scotland that sees the Scottish people at the heart of a 'mutual' NHS - where people in Scotland have real involvement, representation and a voice that is heard. We are determined to ensure that patients and carers can become genuine partners in the planning and delivery of care and that we work collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders including the voluntary sector. Such an approach builds on the fundamental principles of equal access to services on the basis of need and care which is free at the point of access. The future of palliative and end of life care in Scotland reflects all of these dimensions.
It is now possible to predict the progress of many diseases, enabling a planned approach to palliative and end of life care in ways which reflect best practice and which are, as far as is practicable, in accordance with the needs and wishes of patients, carers and their families. Accordingly, our aim is to ensure the delivery of high quality palliative care to everyone in Scotland on the basis of clinical need not diagnosis, and according to established principles of equity and personal dignity.
Living and Dying Well, a national action plan for palliative and end of life care in Scotland, provides the focus and momentum to ensure our strategic priority to improve palliative and end of life care services becomes a practical reality and is applicable to all geographical areas of Scotland. We will continue to work collaboratively with the palliative care community in Scotland, and the voluntary sector in particular, and we will work with patients and carers to ensure that we can accelerate and consolidate the good progress already made. I am aware of the many examples of the excellent work which takes place across Scotland and I am personally committed to ensuring that the Scottish Government provides the leadership necessary to plan and deliver accessible, high quality services on an equitable basis. For the first time we will see the development of a single, comprehensive approach to the provision of palliative care that will be embedded across Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon, MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing