Better Health, Better Care: Action Plan

This Action Plan sets out the Government's programme to deliver a healthier Scotland by helping people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care. The report is informed by the response to the consultation on Better Health, Better Care: A Discussion Document (August 2007).

" Help people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care"


The new Scottish Government has set out its single overarching purpose and five strategic objectives as follows:


To focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

WEALTHIER & FAIRER - Enable businesses and people to increase their wealth and more people to share fairly in that wealth.

SMARTER - Expand opportunities for Scots to succeed from nurture through to life long learning ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements.

HEALTHIER - Help people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care.

SAFER & STRONGER - Help local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer places to live, offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life.

GREENER - Improve Scotland's natural and built environment and the sustainable use and enjoyment of it.

NHSScotland, both alone and in conjunction with its partners, has a significant contribution to make to each of these ambitious objectives. Achievement will be assessed against seven high-level targets and 15 shared, national outcomes through a set of 45 supporting indicators which will be used to report progress to the people of Scotland over a 10-year period. This, in turn, will be underpinned by a range of performance management systems across the public sector, including NHSScotland, which will ensure that services and activities are aligned appropriately.

Better Health, Better Care is a significant step towards a 'Healthier Scotland' and its three main components of health improvement, tackling health inequality and improving the quality of health care. This Action Plan sets out a programme of comprehensive and targeted action to accelerate progress on each of these components.

On health improvement, we acknowledge the progress that has been made in tackling smoking but recognise that smoking is still the biggest cause of premature death in Scotland, especially in disadvantaged communities. We therefore commit to stepping up our efforts to reduce smoking across Scotland. We will also take action to tackle alcohol misuse and the rising problem of obesity and review our approach to improving mental wellbeing as well as physical health.

The Action Plan reflects work underway in the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities to make improvements to health services and prepares the ground for its report to Cabinet in May 2008 on action to address the wider determinants of health. In particular, it sets out the Scottish Government's plans to extend anticipatory care approaches significantly and to develop early intervention programmes which invest in the health of pregnant mothers, babies and young children to break the link between early life adversity and adult disease.

Our Action Plan also sets out a range of measures to improve the quality of our National Health Service. It gives effect to our commitments to local care whenever possible, embedded in communities and tailored to people's needs. It gives effect to our commitment to care that is even quicker, even safer and even more efficient and effective than ever before. It recognises the excellent progress made by NHS staff over the last few years, and in the first months of this new Government. In the spirit of continuous improvement, our Action Plan seeks to accelerate that progress.

Our model of improvement is built around the existing strengths of NHSScotland - a collaborative, integrated approach built on our traditional values. We will therefore retain our unified Board structure and ensure that NHSScotland remains firmly in the public sector - a public service delivered in partnership with the public. Our Action Plan brings together our commitments to public participation, improving patient experience, patient rights and enhanced local democracy and expresses them in terms of a more mutual approach to healthcare. The Scottish people are more than consumers of NHS services. They share ownership of the NHS and that gives them rights and responsibilities which we discussed with the thousands of people who participated in our consultation and which we begin to set out in this Action Plan.

" The NHS talks about patient focus and service users. It should talk about service owners"

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