It's Our Service…
The NHS belongs to us all.
The people of Scotland are more than users of the NHS. We are all part-owners of the NHS. And that gives us rights and responsibilities.
But sometimes people don't feel that the service belongs to them. They worry that the service does things to them, rather than with them. They see the service working in a controlling way, rather than in a spirit of partnership.
This has to change.
We want to encourage a sense of the NHS as a "mutual" organisation that gathers people together in a common purpose.
We want patients to see themselves not as receivers of services, but as partners in care. From 2008, Better Together, our new Patient Experience Programme, will help patients to work in partnership with staff to ensure the best possible care and treatment is given, and received.
We want patients to receive care from NHSScotland staff that is respectful, compassionate and responsive to what patients want. The Better Together programme will help the NHS to find out what is really important to patients and design services to suit, starting with inpatient hospital care, GP services and the care we provide to people with long-term conditions.
We want patients to know up front what they can expect from services, and what services can expect from patients. We're working on a Patients' Rights Bill that will include a Charter setting out the rights and responsibilities of each of us - government, NHS staff and patients. Patients and carers will be encouraged to be genuine partners in the delivery of their care through this commitment to patients' rights and through active involvement in self care that suits their lifestyles.
Community Health Partnerships have set up Public Partnership Forums that allow communities to be involved in the design and delivery of local services, and we will strengthen these forums.
We're also keen to ensure that patients have a greater voice at the highest level within the NHS. That's why we've started a consultation on direct elections to NHS Boards.
We want the people of Scotland to think of themselves not only as users of the NHS, but also as owners of the NHS.
As an owner, you're entitled to have a greater say in how the service is run. We'll be setting what we call a "Participation Standard" that NHS boards will have to meet to show they're involving the people who use their services.
As an owner, you're entitled to know how the NHS is doing. We'll send an Ownership Report to your home and every other household in Scotland every year to let you see how things are shaping up.
And as an owner, you should be assured that when you need care and treatment from the NHS, it will be designed to meet your needs - all of your needs. Everything in Better Health, Better Care is aimed at meeting that aspiration.